Attorney: 4 Kealoha era lawsuits could cost city up to $40 million

Attorney: 4 Kealoha era lawsuits could cost city up to $40 million
(Source: HNN File)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The attorney for the man framed by the Kealohas in the so-called mailbox theft case said four civil rights violation lawsuits against the couple and HPD could cost the city up to $40 million.

“The citizens of the City and County will have to decide how they will handle the drain on resources in million and millions that’s going to occur if we end up having to pursue this matter through litigation," said attorney Eric Seitz.

Seitz represents Gerard Puana, who spent six months in jail on charges trumped up by his niece -- former Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

The lawyer also represents two alleged domestic violence victims, who said the HPD covered up for their spouses, and Hyun Ju Park, who was accidentally shot by an off-duty police officer at a King Street Bar in 2017.

Katherine Kealoha and her husband, former Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, were convicted last month on conspiracy and obstruction charges.

In a letter to the city’s acting Corporation Counsel Paul Aoki this week, Seitz proposed to place the lawsuits on hold if the city could set up a special panel to investigate how the Kealoha’s were able to corrupt the legal system.

He said the panel would also ensure that his clients will be adequately compensated and would establish safeguards to prevent future abuses of power.

But Seitz said the city’s acting Corporation Counsel Paul Aoki ignored his letter, which will increase its potential legal exposure.

“I anticipate the flunkies at the Corporation Counsel will say they (the Kealohas) did this on their own. They’re criminal acts that we’re not responsible,” Seitz said.

“But given the massive resources that were corrupted makes the city responsible.”

The city declined comment.

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