EXCLUSIVE: Commission investigates DLNR ethics complaint

EXCLUSIVE: Commission investigates DLNR ethics complaint
Published: Feb. 25, 2015 at 1:49 AM HST|Updated: Feb. 25, 2015 at 2:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Ethics Commission is looking into potential conflicts of interest at the Department of Land and Natural Resources' enforcement division.

A complaint filed by environmental activist Carroll Cox alleges potential misconduct by staffers with the DLNR's Conservation and Resource Enforcement Division, who do part-time security work for Sodexo, the concessionaire for the Blaisdell Center and the Waikiki Shell.

Cox's complaint alleges that Jason Redulla, the acting chief of the DOCARE unit, works part-time for Sodexo. One of his deputies, Kirk Smythe, also works part-time at Sodexo and is his manager at the private company.

"There's a climate there that invites abuse of authority," said Cox.

"When you have two supervisors supervising one another and down the line a chain of command being conflicted and supervising, there might be a problem."

The DOCARE division is DLNR's law enforcement arm. It polices the state's coastal areas, and helps protect Hawaii's endangered species and natural resources.

The complaint also alleges that Smythe's secretary at the DLNR also does for Sodexo, using her state computer and cell phone on state hours to conduct work for Sodexo.

"That is something we have to make sure is not happening and there is not a commingling of equipment or resources that may benefit the private contractor," said state Sen. Will Espero.

Sodexo and the DLNR had no immediate comment. The commission also declined comment.

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