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Hulihe‘e Palace Damaged Following Break-In

By Tiffany DeMasters
June 19, 2021, 9:30 AM HST
* Updated June 19, 11:56 AM
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State archeologists continue to assess costs incurred by damages done to a historical site in downtown Kailua-Kona after a 27-year-old woman attempted to break into the building.

Charleigh Flournoy of Kailua-Kona was charged with second-degree criminal trespass and fourth-degree criminal property damage after she reportedly broke into Hulihe‘e Palace on June 1 by shattering a lanai window located on the lower makai side and damaged a koa door.

Alarms at the palace were triggered during the reported break-in, which notified staff that someone was on the property.

Charleigh Flournoy

“Before they (staff) were able to locate her, she wandered around, making her way upstairs to the makai lanai,” according to a press release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. “Staff reported she unsuccessfully attempted to leave by repeatedly kicking a door made of koa, breaking off panels in the process.”

Flournoy then spotted by an on-site caretaker and exited the palace’s back door. A Hawai’i Police Department officer apprehended the 27-year-old after she jumped over a seawall and swam to the other side of Kailua Bay.

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DLNR Division of State Parks (DSP) Archeologist, Tracy Tam Sing inspected the damage three days later. The door and glass date back to the 1800s, when King David Kalākaua renovated the palace.

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“It is very sad to see this damage,” Tam Sing said of the vandalism, adding old glass is hard to find so new aged glass will have to be used for repairs.

After the inspection, Tam Sing worked with the DLNR State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) to receive concurrence on emergency repairs.

“We’re very thankful to SHPD for its timely review in order to do the repairs as soon as possible.”

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Fundraising efforts have started to help cover the costs of the damages. The Facebook page Mālama Hulihe‘e is hoping to raise $5,000.

“It is heartbreaking to see the mistreatment of such a special historic site we all hold so dear,” a post states on Mālama Hulihee. “Any contribution you can make will have an impact and every bit helps. Mahalo piha for your consideration.”

DPS staff contacted Glenn Mason of Mason Architecture & Historic Consulting to order aged glass to replace the shattered window panel. They anticipate hiring a qualified carpenter to do the work, next week.

“An essential qualification in repairing these historic features is experience in working with old or historic homes in order to complete a ‘same for same’ or ‘like for like’ restoration,” Tam Sing said.

The cost of the damage hasn’t been determined yet. Repair funds will come from DSP or through the insurance of Daughters of Hawai‘i, the nonprofit operating and managing Hulihe‘e Palace.

Flournoy was granted supervised release. In the following days, the Kona woman was picked up for different offenses. According to court documents, on June 5 Flournoy attempted to steal a halter top from a retail store, on June 7 she reportedly stole tips from a Starbucks and on June 14 she was charged with first-degree criminal trespassing on a residence on a Kona residence.

Flournoy is currently out on supervised release.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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