These men weren't separated at birth, but at least one state agency couldn't tell them apart.
Earlier this month, 46-year-old William "Billy" Richardson was told that he had been nominated to the board of the Hawaiian Homes Commission. Richardson had told all his friends and even took several days off to prepare for the confirmation process. But the nomination wasn't real.
State officials have admitted to a major error.
"A confirmation email was inadvertently sent to the William K. Richardson who was not selected," said Jayson Muraki, manager of Boards & Commissions, in a statement. "We are currently reviewing our internal notification process to ensure this does not happen again."
State Sen. Sam Slom, R-Hawaii Kai, said this confirms the worst fears of people.
"This has been a troubled agency and to add to this with the mixup and the kinds of things that have happened, I think this is really said," Slom said.
The "right" William Richardson heads a venture capital firm and is the son of former Hawaii Supreme Court Justice William S. Richardson.
Renwick "Uncle Joe" Tassill of the Hawaiian Homes Commission said the mixup shows that the state places a low priority on Hawaiian issue.
"How serious are they taking their responsibility to our Hawaiian people,"Tassill said. But he added that both candidates appeared to be very qualified.
"Here we got two Richardsons, two Williams that could be equally an asset to the community and Hawaiian people," he said.
The nomination now goes to the Senate for approval. According to the "other" William Richardson, the state wants to make amends by appointing him to another state board.