Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday.
He was indicted by a grand jury last week on eight counts of felony theft, misdemeanor theft, tampering with a government record, and false swearing. The charges stem from claims of misuse of his government-issued credit card, or pCard.
“It’s an overreach to call him a thief and it’s fighting words, and Mayor Kenoi is going to fight these flimsy allegations all the way,” said his attorney, Todd Eddins. “The mayor is feeling good. He knows he didn’t do anything wrong. He’s going to go about doing what he’s always done, (which) is working tirelessly for this county.”
A trial is set for July, and Kenoi’s term ends in November. He is also facing an ethics complaint.
Kenoi already admitted to and publicly apologized for using his pCard on personal items such as $1,200 for a surfboard and nearly $900 at a Honolulu hostess bar. A closer look at his statements revealed tens of thousands of dollars were also spent on travel, meals and drinks.
He turned himself in at the Pahoa station at 11 a.m. Tuesday, was processed and released.