HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - City Auditor Edwin Young has claimed that rail officials tried to intimidate his audit team when they reviewed the rail authority's finances.
Young didn't provide details, but Hawaii News Now has learned that he told several people that rail staffers withheld documents and were confrontational with his employees.
"Unfortunately, we have to report that the auditee tried to impair the audit process by taking unprofessional and inappropriate actions," Young said on Wednesday. "We will probably be doing follow-up work on this audit to address issues which were not incorporated in the resolution but which we see ... as high risk and potential misuse."
But rail officials said they fully cooperated.
"That's the first time we've heard that there's a claim that we attempted to impair the audit. Our folks were very professional throughout the process to work with the auditor's staff to give information," said Dan Grabauskas, CEO for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.
In his audit, Young concluded that HART's financial plans were not reliable, that cost projections lacked supporting documentation, and that it had no plans for operating and maintenance costs.
Grabauskas tried to discredit the audit before it was released two weeks ago.
"This so-called audit is a joke, but it hasn't been funny, it's a mess," Grabauskas said on April 14.
City Council members criticized him for that.
"With respect to your representation and your press conference, I still continue to believe was unnecessary and unprofessional," said City Council Chairman Ernie Martin. "I'm not telling you something new. So don't make me have to scold you here today, which is totally unnecessary."
Council members also expressed frustration that they won't know whether future costs overruns are likely until early next year.
"It doesn't sound as though we're going to have additional information to restore public confidence or some semblance of hope that we're really at a point where we know what it's going to cost and what it will take to address any potential problems and issues," said City Council member Carol Fukunaga.