Grand Jury Indicts Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi
A Hawai‘i County grand jury has indicted Mayor Billy Kenoi on seven different counts stemming from the misuse of his county issued purchasing card.
Kenoi is charged with two counts of felony theft, and two additional counts of misdemeanor theft. He’s also charged with three misdemeanors for tampering with government records and one petty misdemeanor for false swearing. Attorney General Doug Chin said his department sought the indictment after an intensive investigation that lasted almost a year. “I thank the investigators and prosecutors for their efforts,” said Chin in a statement. He added that an indictment is a finding of probable cause and is not a criminal conviction.
The charges come from alleged conduct taking place from 2011 through 2015 while the Mayor was in office. Keoni has acknowledged making unauthorized purchases of more than $129,000 for personal purposes, including trips to Honolulu hostess bars.
The mayor has apologized and has reimbursed the county.
The charges are:
- Counts 1 and 2: Theft in the Second Degree, Class C felonies each punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
- Counts 3 and 4: Theft in the Third Degree, misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- Counts 5, 6 and 7: Tampering with a Government Record, misdemeanors each punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
- Count 8: False Swearing, a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.