East Hawaii News

County Prosecutor Won’t Handle Kenoi Investigation

April 6, 2015, 1:15 PM HST
* Updated April 6, 2:57 PM
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County of Hawai’i Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth will not handle the investigation into Mayor Billy Kenoi’s spending on his county-issued credit card.

Roth told Big Island Now Monday morning that when news surfaced of Kenoi’s p-Card spending, including two charges at Honolulu hostess bars, he immediately contacted State Attorney General Douglas Chin to discuss how to handle the situation.

“We had a conversation about it, and we just decided at that point, not knowing all the other facts that came out, that it would be best just to look at this matter and have the Attorney General’s office look into it,” said Roth, who noted that he was on Oahu and met with Chin personally the day the news was revealed by multiple media outlets.

“I wanted to make sure it was as clean as possible, not having a County agency looking at the Mayor’s account. We asked, they [the Attorney General’s office] offered, so they are going to review what’s going on and they will make the decisions,” Roth explained.

Calls to Chin’s office by Big Island Now have not been returned as of press time.

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A timetable was not provided to Roth as to how long the investigation could take or how deep the investigation could go.

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Despite recent media reports stating Kenoi’s history with his p-Card, Roth’s office was not made aware of any impropriety before last week’s spending revelations.

“I first learned about it on the news,” Roth said.

Kenoi has not spoken since his April 1 press conference on Oahu. County spokesperson Peter Boylan said Monday that “the Mayor stands by his previous comments on this matter.” Boylan did not say whether Kenoi plans to hold any additional press conferences or make any additional statements on the matter.

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“I want to take full responsibility of the issues of [the] government p-Card. Any mistakes that were made are entirely my own. There’s no excuses or justification, and for those in our community that are residents that I have disappointed, I want to apologize to all of them. I’m not expecting any forgiveness, but just knowing that I have a lot of trust and support I have to earn back, I have to work hard every day to earn back that trust,” Kenoi said on April 1.

“Any purchases that were made by me on my p-Card, whether for official or personal reasons, were paid back. Any personal purchases that I made were paid monthly. I do periodic reviews, annual reviews, and I’ve paid that back as well, but I wanted to make sure that our residents and taxpayers, for any purchases that were made on the p-Card from the time I took office to today, was reimbursed, reimbursed in its entirety,” Kenoi also said during his remarks to the media.

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