Liquor Commission Investigator Admits Accepting Bribes

James Rodenhurst
James Rodenhurst

HONOLULU (KHNL) - A former Honolulu Liquor Commission supervisor goes before a federal judge and admits he accepted bribes and allowed nightclubs to violate liquor laws.

James Rodenhurst, who also worked for the Honolulu Police Department, now faces prison time.

Flanked by his attorney and his only son, James Rodenhurst arrives at federal court, knowing his actions as a liquor control investigator devastated his family.

"I would like to apologize to my parents, who have had to endure this very stressful time in their later years of life," Rodenhurst said, choking back tears. "To my wonderful wife, Amelia, to my children, my grandchildren and my entire family, I say to you I am so very sorry."

Prosecutors say the 57-year-old accepted cash in exchange for allowing two businesses, Volcanoes Night Club and Sin City, "to operate without a liquor license and/or operate beyond the limitations of their liquor license," and for "warning Volcanoes Night Club and Sin City of inspections by the Honolulu Liquor Commission."

"As of today, I have resigned my position," Rodenhurst said.

He now faces up to 20 years in prison, after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge.

"We look forward to the Government recognizing that he has no prior convictions, no arrests, that he led an exemplary life," Myles Breiner, defense attorney, said.

His co-defendant, former Aloha Stadium security chief Herbert Naone, pleaded guilty last September. Prosecutors say Rodenhurst received a share of the money Naone got.

"They've known each other since they were in grade school," Breiner said. "Mr. Naone saw an opportunity to exploit a friendship."

Rodenhurst remains free until his sentencing in August.

"I know I am facing prison time for violating the public trust," Rodenhurst said. "And I'm ready to accept this punishment."