HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The embattled head of a Hawaii electrical workers union is being accused of using union money on personal first-class travel, hotel accommodations, and to pay for his son's attorney fees in a felony case.
Meanwhile on Thursday, in a bizarre move, IBEW Local 1260 leader Brian Ahakuelo said he would not be retiring from the organization after all. The 55-year-old business manager had announced Tuesday that he would retire in response to the chapter being placed in trusteeship by its international parent.
Ahakuelo decided to return as numerous accusations against him and his family are coming to light.
On Thursday, the Washington, D.C.-based international union sent a document to its 3,000 Local 1260 members, alleging that Ahakuelo abused his position and misused union money.
Eight of the allegations involve airfare for trips to Las Vegas, Miami, and Washington D-C. A lot of it was for first-class travel. One trip included seven members of Ahakuelo's family.
The documents also detail the large salaries that he and his family members got from the union.
As the union's business manager and financial secretary, Ahakuelo earned over $200,000 a year. His wife made more than $100,000. And his son and daughter-in-law were also on the payroll.
The international union alleges the "excessive salaries" violate IBEW's bylaws.
Ahakuelo is also accused of abusing vacation and leave policies, making fraudulent credit card charges, and using union money to defend his son, the union's chief of staff, against a felony charge. Union rules say that charge may prohibit him from being employed by the local union.
Ahakuelo had said the allegations are false. Repeated attempts to contact Ahakuelo on Thursday were unsuccessful.
The international union said a hearing to decide how long the local chapter will be in trusteeship is scheduled for May 23.
All union members are invited to testify on the allegations.
ALLEGATIONS AGAINST UNION HEAD: