HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Attorney General's office has issued about a dozen subpoenas directed at Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi's questionable spending, Hawaii News Now has learned.
The subpoenas seeks credit card statements detailing Kenoi's trips to Honolulu hostess bars and local restaurants as well as travel records for his trips abroad, according to people familiar with the probe. One of the subpoenas asks for raw videos of an interview Kenoi gave to local media last month.
"It means that the Attorney General's Office is really taking this seriously. I think there was initially some concern that perhaps folks were going to let this slide," said Colin Moore, a University of Hawaii political science professor and political analyst for Hawaii News Now.
"The attorney general's office does see this as a breach of the public trust."
Since taking office in 2009, Kenoi has racked up more than $120,000 on his government credit card, including a number of high-priced, personal items.
Kenoi has repaid his personal purchases and has denied that he took money from taxpayers. His spokesman Peter Boylan issued this statement today:
"We are in communication with the Attorney General's office and expect to be served with subpoenas this week," Boylan said.
The move comes as Kenoi is shutting down his political campaign. Kenoi, who is term limited and can't run for mayor again, has said that he does not plan to run for office again.
Critics say that doesn't go far enough.
"I'm delighted that he has recognized that he has used all of his credit with the public," said Big Island resident Lanric Hyland, who has filed an ethics complaint against Kenoi.
"The pono thing for him to do is to resign."