Kauai official charged with theft
LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kauai county official has been indicted in a case involving gas cards used by the mayor.
But critics say it's all a vendetta by an over-zealous prosecutor.
A Kauai grand jury indicted the county's Human Resources Manager Janine Rapozo on one count of second degree theft and 22 misdemeanor counts of falsifying business records.
In a news release, Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho said Rapozo "aided and abetted" Mayor Bernard Carvalho in the theft of gasoline and for falsifying business records relating to the purchase.
Carvalho was not indicted.
The case is unusual because Iseri-Carvahlo just lost her re-election and only has a few weeks in office.
Her attorney, Craig De Costa, said his client did nothing wrong.
"I would question the timing of it as well as that, again, from what I know of the case, there's no evidence of wrongdoing," De Costa said.
Rapozo has the backing of her boss Managing Director Gary Heu who said:
"We wish to make it clear that she will continue to carry out her duties regardless of this action, as we've seen no evidence of wrongdoing," Heu said.
Rapozo, 48, has served as the county's chief personnel officer since July.
She is responsible for county-wide employee training, health and safety awareness, employee development and workers compensation claims. The county has about 1,100 employees.
The indictment stems from this study issued by the county auditor earlier this year which found possible abuse of the county gas cards.
Hawaii News Now has learned that the county officials asked the state Attorney General David Louie to investigate but that his office declined to prosecute.
Kauai Councilman Tim Bynum says Iseri-Carvahlo is abusing her powers. Bynum sued her in September after she filed charges against him for zoning violations that her office later dropped.
"I think the prosecutor has been extraordinarily inappropriate in making allegations against a number of county people," he said.
"I do believe her behavior is out of control."
Iseri-Carvalho did not return calls. Rapozo's bail has been set at $500 and she will likely appear in a Kauai courtroom next week.
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