Though Marsha Joyner, 65, high-ranking member of Hawaii’s Democrat Party, former candidate for the Hawaii State Senate, and president of the Dr. Martin Luther King Day Coalition of Hawaii, pled no-contest to second-degree theft charges Sept. 8, she has not yet been sentenced. She was charged with embezzling several thousand dollars from elderly tenants living in a Waikiki apartment unit where she was association president, but her sentencing, which was supposed to occur in 2003, has been scheduled four times, three at her request. She was to appear yesterday before Judge Richard Perkins, but the sentencing was again cancelled at the last minute with no explanation to the public. The Honolulu City Prosecutor could not be reached for comment. However, a clerk for Perkins said Joyner’s attorney had a doctor’s appointment, which was the reason for the cancellation.
One of her many victims, Carroll Henry, who replaced Joyner as association president of the Kon Tiki Condo in Waikiki, has flown to Hawaii three times from San Francisco to Hawaii at his own expense of $1,000 per trip. Each time his plane landed, he learned the sentencing had once again been cancelled and rescheduled while he was enroute. Frustrated, Henry said yesterday he believes Joyner is rescheduling intentionally so he will not be present to comment at her sentencing.
Joyner pled no contest to embezzling money from elderly residents while she was association president from 1997 to 2000 at the Kon Tiki Condo, including from some residents who survive exclusively on their social security checks. Joyner, who served as one of four Hawaii electors in both the 1996 and 2000 presidential election and ran unsuccessfully in 2000 for a state Senate seat, was entrusted by the unit owners with $380 per month per unit, for 48 units in all. In return, she was to pay utilities and lease rent for the 48 units, but instead, according to Henry, Joyner embezzled the money, as much as $135,000, with a partner, Grant Peters.
Joyner said she agreed to the no contest plea in First Circuit Court Sept. 8 to “avoid negative publicity,” because she did not want to make it any harder to raise funds for her coalition, which hosts Hawaii events, including the Martin Luther King Day Parade.
There is a warrant out for Grant Peter