Former council members expect to be witnesses against indicted ex-city officials

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:45 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former Honolulu City Council members say they’re not surprised that prosecutors indicted three ex-city executives for their roles in the payoff of the ex-police chief in 2017.

“It was just a matter of when this was going to happen,” said Ann Kobayashi.

Kobayashi and the eight others on the council in 2017 were all subpoenaed last year and testified before the federal grand jury that indicted Roy Amemiya, the city’s former managing director; Donna Leong, former corporation counsel; and Max Sword, who was chair of the Honolulu Police Commission.

In a stunning scene Wednesday morning, three former high-ranking city officials surrendered to...
In a stunning scene Wednesday morning, three former high-ranking city officials surrendered to the FBI as part of the ongoing massive public corruption probe that resulted in the conviction of ex-Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Katherine.(Hawaii News Now)

The government says the three conspired to orchestrate the $250,000 payoff of Louis Kealoha, then the Honolulu police chief and the target in a corruption probe.

It’s alleged that the group funneled the money quickly, skirting the City Council.

“Given the fact that the case went before the grand jury I knew it was a serious matter and the federal govt believed that there was strong indication of wrong doing,” said Ron Menor.

In council meetings, Sword evaded questions from the members who wanted input.

“I was asked by the grand jury what the council’s role was in awarding the severance package, settlement monies,” said Ikaika Anderson.

“I had to say that the council was told by corporation counsel that we had no role.”

The defendants have pleaded not guilty and are free on bond. Their trial is set for March and the the former council members could end up being witnesses.

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