BY JIM DOOLEY – A former staffer for City Councilman Tom Berg has claimed in a sworn affidavit that he collected $28,643 in city salary for 77 days of work he actually performed for Berg’s political campaign.
The allegations from former Berg chief of staff Eric Ryan “are a complete lie, a fabrication,” Berg told the state Campaign Spending Commission today.
Commission staffers noted that Berg had not responded in any detail to Ryan’s allegations and recommended that his campaign be required to reimburse the $28,643 to the City, but commissioners deferred a decision until next month.
Berg said he had responded to the same allegations when Ryan made them to the City Ethics Commission and didn’t realize he needed to repeat his responses to the Spending Commission.
He said Ryan began making false accusations against him after the Councilman fired Ryan last year.
Berg also said he has filed a criminal complaint against Ryan with police and prosecutors, alleging that Ryan took some $3,000 from Berg’s checking account after Berg fired him from his city job.
No charges have been filed against Ryan based on Berg’s complaint.
The City Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment today on the accusations made today by Ryan and Berg.
City Ethics Commission executive director Chuck Totto said the issues are under investigation.
He noted that a city employee who performs political campaign work on city time could be required to repay the city. Or the employee’s boss could be liable for the repayment if the worker was ordered to do campaign work, Totto said.
Ryan told the commission that he and other Berg staffers were directed by Berg to devote “hundreds of hours” of city work time to the Councilman’s political campaign, “amounting to tens of thousands of dollars in illegally-directed in-kind contributions from the City and County, which Berg deliberately failed to report to you.”
Ryan likened Berg to a combination of three disgraced former Council members: Rene Mansho, Andy Mirikitani and Rod Tam.
Ryan said he had supplied “a mountain of evidence” to the commission and said members “should have no problem at all recognizing Tom Berg’s unfortunate pattern of deliberate deception of the commission and the public.”
Ryan, a graphic arts designer, has engaged in similar disputes with State Rep. Kymberly Pine and gubernatorial candidate John Carroll.
His work for all three political figures ended badly. He hosts websites including “kympineisacrook.com” and “citizens against crooked politicians.” (In their defense, someone launched https://ericryanisacrook.blogspot.com/p/story.html )
Pine is now running against Berg for the City Council’s 1st District seat, and Ryan continues to accuse both of them of various deeds.
Berg said today that he has spent so much time and energy responding to Ryan’s complaints to the Ethics Commission that he didn’t look at the allegations lodged by Ryan with the Spending Commission.
He said he didn’t know what he did with a cd-rom containing the Spending Commission records, including Ryan’s affidavit, and asked for another copy.
The commission agreed to make another copy for him and asked him to submit a response by next week. Ryan will then have an opportunity to respond and the Commission will revisit the issue at its November meeting.
The Commission did decide to fine Berg’s campaign $250 for its failure to report a gift of t-shirts.
Berg said a former staffer gave the 24 shirts to the campaign although he characterized the items as “throwaways” with little or no value.
He disputed imposition of the fine, calling it “$250 for someone’s trash.”
Eric, you idiot, I don't work at HawaiiReporter.
I suggest to Jim Dooley that he stay on this story to determine the voracity of Ryan's charges and the degree of his culpability.. It is very likely that Ryan was more than a willing participant in any illegal misuse of taxpayer's money. As Berg's chief of staff, he undoubtedly directed other staffers, and most likely willingly guided Berg's campaign activities. If Ryan, in fact , did use 616 hours to perform campaign related chores, it is highly unlikely that he was "forced," as he contends. Since he only worked there for 6 months it sounds like he did little if any work for city. And, I suggest that this was what he planned all along. The preservation of his appointed job was contingent on Berg being re-elected. Was there any indication in Ryan's mountain of evidence that he offered the slightest resistance to this misuse of city time and tax dollars; or was it only after he was fired that he developed a conscience? I am sure he instigated, directed and participated in the activities he now blames solely on Berg. I hope the Campaign Spending Commission can see the self-serving motivation behind Ryan's charges and the hypocritical nature of his "coming clean." Ryan feels "betrayed" by Berg for firing him and simply seeking revenge. Ryan feels that he was entitled to this appointment and was destroyed when he lost his city largesse and politically relevant perch where he could torment his many "enemies" from the high ground…only to slide back to square one. If Berg is guilty, so is Ryan. I hope he is not allowed to use the Campaign Spending Commission in his private scheme to "get even" with Berg, and evade the responsibility for his involvement.
This case should be forwarded to the city prosecutor for criminal charges if Ryan is unable to prove that he was not actively collaborating; or even in charge of this fleecing of taxpayers.
Not much similarity at all. I was there 6 years and retired. You were there 6 months and got fired. You signed an affidavit that you stole 616 hours of taxpayer's time…I used my vacation time when doing any non-city work.
"City prosecutors uncovered Rollman's illegal activities . . . but did nothing about it." Oh, really? This was actually a criminal investigation to find who was sending out forged emails under name…that led to YOU. The reason you weren't prosecuted was the relatively low level of punishment you'd get was not worth letting you turn your trial into a media circus during an active campaign. You are a pathological liar, Mr. Ryan…always have been.
"Let Sanity and Integrity Reign!" Wasn't that your slogan when you ran Berg? Looks like we got the exact opposite with you two clowns.
I have made the decision to ban Eric Ryan from further commenting on Hawaii Reporter for repeated bad behavior.
Hawaii Reporter does not tolerate rudeness, profanity, insulting posts, personal attacks, flaming or purposeless inflammatory posts or posts that are sexual in nature that violate community standards. Our decision is final in these matters.
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