New claims report reveals inmates, drivers among those reimbursed by the state

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The saying goes you break it, you buy it.

But when the state’s at fault, it’s taxpayers who are left paying the bill.

We’ve learned this past fiscal year, Hawaii has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars to settle damage claims.

A good chunk of our money is going to inmates behind bars.

Of the $260,710.52 the state paid out, nearly a third of it went to pay inmates — more than $80,000, mostly to settle lawsuits alleging they were mistreated or injured behind bars.

One man was paid out $10,000 because he slipped at Halawa Correctional Facility. Another received a $10,000 payout after being injured in a fight.

Taxpayers are also on the hook when inmates’ property is lost. Steven Capobianco, the Maui man convicted of murdering his pregnant ex-girlfriend, Carly Scott, received $83 after his order from Maui Community Correctional Center’s store was lost.

But the payouts aren’t limited to those locked up.

About $2,300 were paid after a child was injured on an elementary school playground.

Fifty dollars went to a man living in state-run housing whose food went bad in a faulty refrigerator.

State Rep. Joy San Buenaventura was paid $250 after liquid from the pond at the State Capitol damaged her car.

In fact, most of the claims were paid to drivers whose cars were damaged, mainly by potholes or by debris kicked up by weed whackers being used to maintain state roads.

For potholes alone, there were more than 70 claims for a total payout of around $35,000.

What we’ve shared with you is just the list of claims that were $10,000 and under, so this isn’t the whole picture when it comes to where our tax dollars are going.Click here if your property was damaged and you want to file a claim with the state.

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