Political Tittle-tattle: News and Entertainment from Hawaii’s Political Arena – Feb. 14, 2003-Unforgettable, in Every Way; Another Government Official Walks Away With Property Paid for By Taxpayers; Elephants Wait for Years to Mate – Still Not United This Valentine’s Day; Harris Campaign Fund Balance Drops Dramatically After Investigation Into Campaign Fundraising Practices; Legislature Little to Show for Being One-Third Done; Democrats Pass Republican Bills in the Senate, Not in the House; Fight Continues Over Re-Appointment – or Not – of Chief Elections Officer; Happy Valentine’s Day

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“Malia Lt blue top Image”

”Unforgettable, in Every Way”


When former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary moved out of the White House in 2000, national media reported they’d pillaged the nationally cherished site, taking more than $1 million in items that should have remained government property. The offices in the White House were vandalized and the public soon learned the Clinton staff had removed all of the “W”s from the computer keyboards making it difficult for Pres. George W. Bush’s staff to type his full name.

When Democrat Gov. Benjamin Cayetano left office, there were rumors of such events taking place at the state Capitol, something the new Republican governor Linda Lingle denied knowledge of at a press conference several weeks ago when she was questioned by KITV reporter Denby Fawcett.

However, another side of the story has emerged through a series of stories in various media that sound rather suspicious.

First the public learned through a fluff piece in The Honolulu Advertiser that former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano admits to housing 500 boxes of memorabilia at his Waialae Ridge home. Of course, being from The Honolulu Advertiser, the reporter did not ask the governor to open all 500 boxes so the “memorabilia” could be documented. Nor, apparently, did the sheriff’s department in charge of guarding state property and specific personnel.

Then three nights ago, an alarming report aired on KITV News by reporter Keoki Kerr, which revealed there are more than 288 items missing from the lieutenant governor’s office totaling $181,014. Some of those items named in the report were typewriters, VCRs, a limousine (later found auctioned off but not recorded properly) and many, many other items.

“Hundreds Of Items Missing From State Departments SideBar”

Four years earlier, election workers in the 1998 General Election claimed some of the boxes of ballots were never delivered to the main counting center. Many other accusations of voter fraud were made in late 1998 and 1999 by a variety of people. This was a key election year when then Gov. Benjamin Cayetano looked as if he’d lose his governor’s seat to Linda Lingle. Chief Elections Officer Dwayne Yoshina adamantly denied any such reports, acknowledging some boxes had arrived much later than others but were sealed properly when they arrived, so the official counters were not concerned.

With all of these items missing or suspected missing and the governor admitting to having taken 500 boxes along with him, the next question obviously is “what is in those boxes” and “who said the former governor could take those contents with him?”

Some critics of Cayetano say they know he can’t fit the limousine in one of those boxes, but they cynically question if there are 5,300 ballots cast for Gov. Linda Lingle in 1998 and a heck of a lot of office supplies and furniture now being stored in Cayetano’s home.

”Another Government Official Walks Away With Property Paid for by Taxpayers”

There was a strong rumor two years ago that two top city officials had personally solicited the services at severely discounted rates of two major Hawaii contractors and that they’d use city materials to build or renovate their properties. These contractors had supposedly received a number of city contracts from these city officials.

Two years later and several months into an investigation by the Honolulu City Prosecutor to determine whether Harris’ political campaign had received kickbacks after awarding contracts to several of Hawaii’s major contractors, at least one of those contractors is talking.

A story in yesterday’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin by Rick Daysog says Managing Director Ben Lee used city curbstones imported from China to build a walkway at his home. These curbstones were installed by employees of Royal Contractors, one of the companies rumored two years ago to have been working on the property of a high-ranking city government official.

“Top city official gets free city rocks sidebar”

Supporters of Lee and Lee himself claim the curbstones had no value any longer and were going to be discarded. Lee said he did not pay for them because they were not worth anything.

However, some critics of the Harris administration dispute Lee’s claim that his actions were appropriate because the rocks were not being used.

In an interview with HawaiiReporter.com yesterday, Honolulu City Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi did not know the value of the stones, but she said she was disappointed in Lee’s decision to take the stones for his own use, regardless of the value. Kobayashi did not believe any city property should ever be used for personal use, even if paid for by a government official, because it looks bad and brings on more distrust by the public of government.

”Elephants Wait for Years to Mate