HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The FBI raided the Hilo offices of public access broadcast station on Hawaii Island on Thursday, temporarily impacting business operations and forcing the postponement of a political forum.
A FBI spokesperson for Na Leo Television confirmed that a search warrant was executed at the Mohouli Street property, but neither party would comment on the circumstances surrounding the investigation.
Sources say Stacy Higa, president and CEO of Na Leo, told staff to shut down the office. He did not return calls for comment.
A FBI spokesperson tells Hawaii News Now that another location on Oahu was also searched in connection with the investigation.
Witnesses at the scene saw a number of agents involved in the search. Some are believed to have exited the premises carrying what appeared to be folders and an assortment of documents.
Early Thursday afternoon, a representative for the television station issued a statement saying a political forum involving races featuring candidates from Puna had been postponed. The station was working with the Mainstreet Pahoa Association to reschedule the broadcast, it said.
Hawaii County Councilmember Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder, who represents several Puna-area neighborhoods, had been scheduled to appear in the forum.
“It does raise some concerns. I have some friends who work there,” said Kanealii-Kleinfelder. “I’m concerned about the staff. I’m concerned about what’s happening and it is a public service access channel for us so this is concerning for Hilo and for anyone else who’s involved.”
The raid was particularly concerning, he says, because it involves federal authorities.
“The FBI is usually not involved in Hilo very often,” Kanealii-Kleinfelder said. “For Hilo, this is big news.”
This story will be updated.