Another city road division supervisor under ethics probe

Another City road division supervisor under ethics probe

Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) – A city division of road maintenance supervisor is being investigated for allegations of illegal dumping, the third case of a supervisor in trouble in the same division in less than two years.

The latest case under investigation by the City Ethics Commission involves allegations of wrongdoing at the Department of Facility Maintenance's Sand Island yard, near the Sand Island sewage plant.

Sam Kalahiki, a supervisor on temporary assignment, is on unpaid leave and under investigation in the case, according to a city spokeswoman.

Kalahiki is the focus of an ethics probe after someone reported he allowed a private company where his friend or relative works to dump several loads of construction waste at the Sand Island city yard, instead of paying to dispose of it at a landfill, sources said.

According to city records, Kalahiki, a 20-year city employee who's a heavy truck driver, is paid roughly $41,000 a year.

In another case, City Traffic Signs Supervisor Patrick Costa is on leave and being investigated for consistently leaving work and spending much of the work day at his home along Keolu Drive.

Costa, a 24-year city employee, oversees about two dozen staffers who install and maintain signs and handle lane striping along city roadways.

Enter his address, 1334 Keolu Drive, into Google Maps and you'll find a picture from June 2011 of his white city truck sitting in his garage during the day. Sources said that's not a vehicle he was authorized to take home.

Former city street sweeping supervisor Manuel Castro was sentenced to a year behind bars in January 2011.

Castro was also ordered to pay back the $20,000 in overtime he collected in a scheme in which he collected kickbacks from city street sweepers whose bogus overtime he approved.

All three supervisors accused of wrongdoing work in the road division which is headquartered in the city's Halawa yard. City officials said they can't comment on these cases because they are personnel matters.

City employees said a culture of corruption has been allowed to flourish in this division for years, with favoritism and nepotism to blame for some of the problems.

Since one-third of the jobs in the department are vacant, employees said there's plenty of overtime that's sometimes doled out unfairly or unethically.

Managers in the city's road division are either ignoring the problems are too clueless and inept to do step in and do anything about them, employees said.

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