HNN Investigates

Remote workers helping to fuel luxury real estate sales on Oahu, experts say

  The low supply of construction materials is driving prices through the roof

  Patients fear losing access to medical cannabis amid push to restrict amateur grow operations

  Attorney for Kaneshiro campaign donors disputes report connecting clients to corruption probe

  Lawyers for man framed by Kealohas seek former Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s testimony

Helping struggling individuals off the street, Kalaeloa tiny homes project nearing completion

Continued Coverage

For a 3rd straight month, the median price of a home on Oahu hit a new record high

  The pandemic is pricing more people out of paradise ... and there’s no relief in sight

  Judicial directive aimed at curtailing COVID in jails causing problems in streets, hospitals

3 convicted in mailbox scandal want to be vaccinated before heading to prison

  Inspections discover cracks in rail line tracks that experts say could cause further delays

  Prime land in Kakaako won’t be seeing residential developments anytime soon

Hawaii Senate passes what’s poised to be the nation’s highest income tax

If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes could be going up.

Federal authorities zero in on Kaneshiro campaign donors in next phase of corruption probe

In another twist to the widening federal probe, it appears the federal grand jury is hearing evidence surrounding a false prosecution.

400 homes planned in West Oahu under Kalaeloa master development

Gentry Homes, Ltd. was selected by Hunt Companies to build the homes.

  Kealoha scandal fuels push to seize pension benefits from criminals

The proposal allows for half of the individual’s pension benefits to be taken away upon conviction.

  Nonprofit prepares for broad effort to vaccinate Hawaii’s homeless

  Arson investigation launched after large blaze at shuttered Waikiki pub

  With no signs of housing prices cooling off, advocates push for government aid

  A lesson in redemption: Why a business owner hired the man who stole from him

  New facility provides a place to heal and a pathway to housing for medically frail homeless

  Finances grim for Chinese developer who owns 100s of acres in Makaha Valley

  Former council member details focus of federal probe into ex-HPD chief’s payoff

All nine members of the 2017 Honolulu City Council have now testified before a federal grand jury investigating the payoff for disgraced ex-HPD Chief Louis Kealoha.

  Pair of homeless heroes lauded for capturing handcuffed escapee

“He went over and just grabbed the guy. Like he just bear hugged him. Then I called the cops."

  Former no. 2 under Caldwell is working at Council to get taxpayer-funded benefits

New Councilman Calvin Say described Roy Amemiya’s position as a legislative liaison and said it’s a temporary position, lasting between six months and a year.

Witness in drug case involving Katherine Kealoha’s brother is now on the run

Masunaga is co-conspirator number 4 in the 2019 federal indictment that charged former deputy city prosecutor Katherine Kealoha and her brother, Dr. Rudolph Puana, with drug crimes.

  In Kaimuki, residents worry monster homes are taking over the community

“Old Kaimuki is certainly changing but to build these huge apartment buildings here is frightening and simply disgusting."

  Parade of former, current council members subpoenaed to testify in federal probe

More officials currently or previously tied to Honolulu Hale are being called to testify in connection with a federal probe stemming from the Kealoha scandal.

  20% of all parking tickets issued over the last 5 years went unpaid, state records show

One out of every 5 parking tickets issued in Hawaii over the last five years has gone unpaid, Hawaii News Now has learned.

  With evictions looming, advocates urge state not to cut funding for homeless programs

Some Hawaii non-profits are already noticing an uptick in the number of people participating in homeless programs.

  Legal battle brewing over portion of proceeds from sale of Kealohas’ home

The Hawaii Central Federal Credit Union filed a court document late last month asking for money leftover from the sale to pay for legal fees.

Community activist appointed to HART’s board of directors

Iwasa, a former candidate for Honolulu City Council, will serve as a non-voting member.

  Judge dismisses obstruction case against Kealoha conspiracy victim

Katherine Kealoha falsely told the man that his mother could go to jail if he told the truth during his grand jury testimony.

  Katherine Kealoha got a 13-year sentence, but she’ll be released in 2030. Here’s why.

A federal judge sentenced Katherine Kealoha to 13 years last month, but the Bureau of Prisons has since set her release date at July 24, 2030, less than a decade from now.

  Lori Kahikina, city Environmental Services director, named interim CEO

At Environmental Services, she oversaw the $5.2 billion wastewater project connecting Kailua and Kaneohe, which the city says is the second-largest public works project next to the rail system.

  Outgoing HART CEO reflects on a rocky tenure and why he’s optimistic about rail’s future

“With the new stadium, there’s going to be housing and entertainment. It’s going to be unbelievable to have a station like this, right here, I think is a game changer,” he said.

Schatz secures deadline extension for $250M in federal funds for Honolulu rail project

The federal funding was set to lapse at the end of this year, but the appropriations bill extends the deadline to the end of next year.

  HART board votes to oust CEO, search for as-of-yet unnamed replacement

Only one board member objected to Robbins being removed as CEO.

  Future of rail project uncertain with $250M in federal funding still up in the air

Caldwell emphasized the importance of the funding, especially with the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

  Despite millions in federal funds, HPD’s tent city at Keehi Lagoon sits mostly underutilized

Data obtained from the facility’s daily census shows that between Apr. 8 and Nov. 21, the facility was less than half full 90 percent of the time.

Hawaii County releases blueprint for 2018 eruption recovery

Hawaii County has made plans public aimed at guiding the Big Island’s recovery from the impact of the devastating volcanic eruption that destroyed hundreds of homes and business assets.

  Authorities who investigated Kealoha corruption scandal now turn their attention to city

City officials are among the witnesses being called to testify before a federal grand jury.

  Some businesses on rail line suspect passing trains linked to recent power outages

They say problems with the electricity started a couple months ago.

  Criminal case finished, the next victims of the Kealoha scandal could be taxpayers

“There’s no question to me that the city is liable for a lot of that. We’re not going to get restitution from the Kealohas, they don’t have anything left,” said Puana’s attorney. “The city is on the hook.”

The Kealohas leave behind a trail of victims and ruined reputations

Katherine Kealoha, a former high-ranking deputy city prosecutor, orchestrated the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars from people who trusted her, as well as financial institutions.

First affordable housing walk-up under ‘Bill 7′ now in the works in Liliha

Bill 7 provides property tax incentives to developers to encourage more affordable rentals.

  5 years after investigation into Kealohas began, former Honolulu power couple sentenced

“The breadth of this criminal conduct is astonishing. It reached the highest levels of our city government."

  Judge: Louis Kealoha wasn’t conspiracy’s mastermind, but he had a starring role

“The chief of police of a major American city worked overtime to frame a person with a crime he did not commit. The oath didn’t matter."

  After sentencing, the Kealohas’ string of victims search for closure

“We take solace in knowing that the people involved in this conspiracy have been stopped."

  Perseverance prevails as construction on tiny home village for homeless resumes

“There have been a lot of tears shed over this project by a lot of people."

  Read Katherine Kealoha’s handwritten letter to a judge ahead of her sentencing

In the five-page letter, Kealoha says she has been locked in her cell for 23 hours a day since April because of the pandemic and calls her time behind bars “my cross to bear.”

  After 2 years of planning, public-private partnership for rail’s final leg is canceled

HART CEO Andrew Robbins has maintained the so-called P3 was the best way forward for the $10 billion project.

  New testing initiative identifies COVID-19 clusters in Oahu’s homeless camps

The program launched three months ago and is already playing a critical role in testing homeless individuals and preventing larger clusters.

Crucial for rail development, city acquires 2 acres of land in Kalihi Kai

The city is using $20.6 million in federal funds for the purchase.

New affordable rental units ready for residents in Waikiki

People earning less than 80 percent of the area median income can apply to live in the units.

You won’t be riding the rail line to Aloha Stadium anytime soon

When will the first phase of the rail project, from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium, open to riders?

  Final stretch of Honolulu rail line in disarray as board searches for new CEO

“It’s become abundantly clear that construction prices are not going to get any better by cancelling this procurement."

Katherine Kealoha refuses to see her attorney as sentencing date nears

Gary Singh Singh told Chief Judge J. Michael Seabright that Kealoha refused to meet with him on Nov. 3 and again on Nov. 6 at the Federal Detention Center, where she is being held

  Nurse practitioner field grapples with question of whether to standardize curriculum nationwide

Nurse practitioners are questioning their own education at some colleges. There’s no national standard on how to educate nurse practitioners, while medical education for doctors was standardized more than 100 years ago.

Convicted ex-prosecutor wants phone hearings during pandemic

Katherine Kealoha, who is in jail while awaiting sentencing for a conspiracy conviction wants to participate in hearings for a lawsuit her uncle filed against her by telephone because of the pandemic.

Mayor Caldwell calls for special meeting over future of an already costly rail project

A board vote on the P-3 negotiations was scheduled on Oct. 27, but he feels that's too late.

  The latest estimate for Honolulu’s embattled rail project: $10B

During a meeting of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board, the rail authority said the increase includes $832 million in higher construction costs.

  Ex-MPD officer to plead guilty to federal charge connected to inappropriate behavior

The investigation into Saffeels’ behavior was initiated after a series of Hawaii News Now reports that included interviews with some of the women involved.

  Mayor: Bids for City Center leg of rail project way ‘out of the ballpark’

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday the bids for the final and most expensive leg of the rail project came in too high.

  Mayor urges HART to pull the plug on private-public partnership process

HART is reportedly going ahead without the city, saying legitimate bidders are ready to finish the project.

  Tensions between city, HART could lead to more costly rail delays

“Why can’t we work together to make it work so that a city project can have the proper permits," a city councilwoman said.

Right lane on King Street through urban core will soon be reserved for buses only

It’s called TheBusLane and it’s designed to speed up the commute for Downtown bus riders.

  HART board reverses course, won’t fire CEO Robbins before contract expires

Robbins' fate with the problem-plagued rail authority, however, is still up in the air because his three-year contract expires at the end of the year. So far, the HART board has taken no action to extend it.

  More obstacles threaten to delay completion of rail project by up to 4 years

“Whenever we hear about delays we know that’s going to add to cost."

  Census workers make progress in counting Hawaii’s homeless population

A nationwide operation started on Tuesday to accurately count people experiencing homelessness.

DHHL selects developers to build an affordable housing complex in Moiliili

DHHL estimates rent will range from $633 for studios, to $3,133 for 3-bedroom town home units.

Developer withdraws application to build affordable housing complex in Kailua

It was the only affordable housing project in the works for Kailua.

  After 3 years at helm of Honolulu’s rail project, HART CEO likely to be voted out

He earned $316,000 a year as HART’s CEO.

Hawaii councilors accuse county of slow volcano recovery

Hawaii County Council members have accused the county’s administrators of a slow response in enacting programs to assist the public’s recovery from the Kilauea volcanic eruption two years ago.

  Funding for homeless sweeps along state roadways runs out, putting future clean-ups on hold

Hawaii News Now obtained an email in response to a community complaint written by the Department of Transportation’s Homeless Coordinator that said the agency’s been “forced to pause all clean-up operations."

  Homeless shelter reopens following COVID-19 outbreak, but with fewer beds

But getting a bed at the Institute for Human Services men’s shelter likely won’t be as easy as it used to be.

Community divide over an affordable housing project planned for Kailua deepens

Kailua residents don't want the project in their neighborhood, but supporters say its desperately needed.

  After nearly 2 years on leave, deputy city prosecutor returns to work

Almost two years after he received a subject letter from the US Department of Justice and went on leave, deputy city Prosecutor Chasid Sapolu is back at work.

  Nonprofit looks to fill more than 50 positions as it works to distribute much-needed aid

“We know there’s a lot of people that want to help. That want to do this kind of work. And those are the kind of people we’re looking for."

After several delays, Kealoha sentencing discussions resume

Another sentencing date could finally be set for Honolulu’s former police chief, Louis Kealoha, his wife Katherine, a former deputy prosecutor, and two police officers who were found guilty on June 27, 2019 of obstruction and conspiracy.