MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui County’s top civil lawyer resigned Tuesday amidst the swirling controversy from his recent domestic violence arrest, a county spokesperson said.
The announcement was made just more than 24 hours after protesters confronted Mayor Mike Victorino on the University of Hawaii Maui College campus, demanding that he get rid of Patrick Wong, the head of Maui County’s Department of Corporation Counsel.
"I believe it’s in the best interest of the Department of Corporation Counsel and the people of Maui County for Mr. Wong to step down at this time,” Mayor Victorino said in a statement.
It’s been just more than a month since Wong was arrested in Wailuku and charged with abuse of a household member. In the days following his arrest, sources told Hawaii News Now that the victim in the alleged case suffered physical injuries and feared being retaliated against.
Still, after a “careful review,” the state Attorney General’s office decided to drop the charges against Wong earlier this month.
“The decision to decline prosecution of Patrick Wong was made after a careful review of all available evidence related to the incident,” Krishna Jayaram, special assistant to the state attorney general, said in a statement.
Yet opposition to Wong’s eventual return was fierce; demonstrators held signs promoting domestic violence awareness during the mayor’s Maui College event Monday ― which was intended to mark April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Hawaii ― and several county council members said they believed Wong should resign.
Victorino says Moana Lutey, an 18-year veteran of the corporation counsel’s office, was being nominated as Wong’s replacement.
This story will be updated.