EXCLUSIVE: City's $250K Car Wash boondoggle

EXCLUSIVE: City's $250K Car Wash boondoggle
Published: Feb. 10, 2015 at 12:58 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2015 at 1:24 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It was supposed to the city's ultra-green car wash for its refuse trucks.

Back in 2001, the city poured nearly a quarter of a million dollars into upgrading the vehicle wash facility at the city's Keehi Transfer Station. It hasn't worked since.

"The cost is exorbitant because it's money belonging to the taxpayer. There's no accountability, no follow through," said Kelii Akina, CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

The vehicle wash facility is a basketball court-sized automated car wash for the city's refuse trucks and trailers. It was supposed to be a state-of-the-art, ultra green facility that recycles its own water and cleaning fluids.

But the car wash's motors never worked. And for the past 15 years, city workers have had to hand wash their trucks at the Keehi station, using pressure washers to hose down the large trucks with fresh water.

The project was supposed to be under a one-year warranty but the contractor didn't need to honor it because the problem with the motors predated their work. Here's what one of the city's mechanical engineering firms concluded in 2001.

"It appears the system was inoperable even prior to construction," according to a May 2001 memo by Cedric D.O. Chong & Associates Inc.

The $250,000 could be just a tip of the iceberg. The city also spent a lot of money to design and build the two-story structure.

Hawaii News Now asked for the records for the entire project. But an official told us the rest of the file could not be located.

"In the private sector, if someone failed to keep records, keep track of a warranty and hold third parties responsible, they'd be fired," Akina said.

"We can't say what went wrong and where they went wrong because the records are missing."

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