Federal investigations have intersected with Honolulu Hale quite a bit recently, from the Kealoha case to the rail project. Always Investigating asked the mayor about the status of target letters, subpoenas and warrants, a top official on leave, and the former police chief’s severance payback.
City Corporation Counsel Donna Leong has been on paid leave since January, getting a target letter reportedly connected to former police chief Louis Kealoha’s quarter-million-dollar severance deal.
KHON2 asked Mayor Kirk Caldwell: Has anyone else in the city received a target or subject letter since Donna Leong?
“Not that I’m aware of,” Caldwell said.
KHON2 asked: It will soon be a year that Leong has been out; how much longer does this go on that she gets to stay on payroll?
“One thing we have to honor due process,” Caldwell said. “I believe everyone gets their day in court. She’s received a target letter. I don’t think a target letter presumes guilt.”
KHON2 followed up: Is there a timeline in your mind where enough of a wait becomes too long?
“It’s a good question; I don’t have a timeline as to how long is too long,” Caldwell said.
Always Investigating was first to report the city has sent Louis Kealoha a demand letter to pay back the $250,000 severance, since he pled guilty in a financial fraud case and was found guilty in a conspiracy case.
KHON2 asked Caldwell: Do you have faith that that money will come back?
“I think it’s going to be a difficult road to travel to collect the money,” Caldwell said. “But I think we owe it to the taxpayers to send out the demand letter and we’ll see. Over time we may collect, and I’m glad there is a provision in there to collect the money
The city administration also confirmed they cooperating with federal subpoenas and a search warrant related to a rail investigation. The HART rail authority and staff there were also subpoenaed.