MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city has fined a former executive with the Honolulu Neighbor Commission and his ex-housemate more than $100,000 for illegal dumping.
The city alleged that Tom Heinrich and Lisa Chang stored several shipping containers on a vacant lot without a permit. It also said that Chang illegally stored her personal belongings on the lot for several years.
"It's very frustrating ... very, very frustrating because it shouldn't be allowed. And somehow or another it's been allowed," said former neighbor Mary Khan. "We had to try to get around all of those things, including the giant shipping containers and the clutter such as shovels, brooms, paint brushes ..."
Much of the trash was stored in a 150-year long path connected to Hopena Way. Hundreds of cardboard boxes and shelves full of collectibles such as stamps and military memorabilia were dumped on the path. A sink was even spotted.
Reached by phone, Heinrich said it wasn't his problem. Heinrich is a former executive secretary of the Neighborhood Commission. His share of the fines come to about $40,000.
"Bottom line is this is Lisa's headache. It is not mine," he said. "I have no authority to deal with it."
Environmental activist Carroll Cox filed a complaint with the city back in 2012 over the illegal dump site. He said the city is playing favorites by not forcing Heinrich and Chang to clean up the property.
"We've seen a variety of cases in Kaimuki or other places where common citizens who don't know anyone or in the know or have a friend in government get fined substantially," Cox said. "The city should take immediate action to clean it up because it attracts rats, bugs, roaches."
Heinrich denied that he received special treatment.
"I never got a break from anything on that. And I was called on the carpet several times by (then) Mayor Carlisle and (former managing director) Doug Ching," he said.
Hawaii News Now has learned it could cost tens of thousand of dollars to clean up the site, money no one seems willing to spend.