Police chief, wife hit with another lawsuit in ongoing family financial battle

Local News

The ongoing family feud involving Honolulu police chief Louis Kealoha entered a new chapter Wednesday.

Another civil lawsuit was filed against the chief and his wife, Katherine, who is a deputy prosecutor.

The lawsuit was filed by Gerard Puana, Katherine’s uncle, who filed another civil lawsuit involving finances. This time, Puana is accusing the Kealohas of falsely putting him in prison.You can read the lawsuit in its entirety here.

Puana was arrested for mailbox theft, a criminal case that ended in a mistrial in federal court. This new lawsuit addresses that and another time that Puana was arrested.

The money problems came to light when Puana filed a civil lawsuit against Katherine Kealoha, accusing her of taking money from a reverse mortgage. But she won that case, and the judge ordered Puana to pay her more than $400,000.

In Wednesday’s lawsuit, Puana addresses the alleged mailbox theft and claims that the Kealohas tried to frame him.

He says they lied to Honolulu police officers assigned to that case, and those officers committed misconduct by failing to properly document events, handle evidence, and prepare accurate reports.

We brought this up with Max Sword, the new chairman of the Honolulu Police Commission.

“We’ll be discussing all these issues as we do in all our meetings and we come to a consensus, because there’s seven of us and we have to come to a decision on what’s going to happen at the appropriate time,” Sword said.

The lawsuit also claims that in 2011, Puana was wrongfully arrested for unauthorized entry into a home. He says after officers arrested him, his home was locked by officers, but Katherine went inside and removed $15,000 in cash — money that Puana says he needed to bail out.

So he wound up in custody for 72 days.

The police commission has been given broader powers after voters approved a charter amendment in the November election, but the police commission does not yet want to comment on what it can do.

“You can’t even say what the options are?” KHON2 asked Sword.

“Not at this point, because we haven’t fully discussed it,” he replied. “We’ve talked about it, but we haven’t fully vetted at which at some point in time, we will.”

The lawsuit also names several police officers.

Puana’s attorney tells us the lawsuit was filed Wednesday because the statute of limitations was about to expire, but they will wait until the federal investigation of misconduct against the chief and his wife are done before moving forward.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories