Rail authority to hand over documents requested in subpoena

Rail authority to hand over documents requested in subpoena
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officials with the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation are expected to hand over thousands of pages of documents requested in a federal grand jury subpoena on Thursday.

The information demanded includes all records and documents provided to the state auditor, archaeological studies, correspondence with the Federal Transit Administration, change order information, a list of contractors who have worked on the project and more.

So far, HART has received three subpoenas in connection with the federal criminal investigation into the state’s largest public works project.

In the first two subpoenas, a federal grand jury sought a broad list of documents, from contractor change orders to real estate acquisition reports. The third one asks for HART board of directors meeting minutes, including the minutes taken during executive session ― when the body meets behind closed doors.

“Right now, all we know is that we’re being directed to provide a lot of documents,” said HART CEO and Executive Director Andrew Robbins in a previous interview. He added that “we continue to move forward with this project" and that he doesn’t expect the investigation to affect the disbursement of federal funds for rail construction.

[Read more: If you’re keeping count, the rail authority has now received 3 subpoenas]

Meanwhile, this deadline comes as the Honolulu-Star Advertiser reported that the state auditor has canceled a $700,000 contract with a public accounting firm called BKD LLP. That company was supposed to review change orders for the rail project.

State Auditor Les Condo told the Advertiser he was concerned about the accuracy of the firm’s information and was “not happy with the work.”

He is consulting with the state Attorney General to try to recoup the $450,000 that has been spent on the contract.

The beleaguered rail project has been the subject of several critical audits, including two released in January.

Both of those audits faulted rail officials for missteps that led to project costs ballooning 80 percent ― from the original estimate of $5.1 billion to more than $9 billion.

The project’s completion has also been pushed back to 2025.

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