There will be a special meeting of the Hawaii County Council on Tuesday to discuss the recently filed lawsuits by two terminated elections employees. It begins at 9 a.m. at the Hilo County Council Chambers. However, it will be in executive session, which means the public and the media may not attend.
The lawsuits were filed by Attorney Ted Hong on behalf of former longtime Elections Administrator Pat Nakamoto and former Senior Elections Clerk, Shyla Ayau. The two filed separate defamation and negligence lawsuits. They have sued Hawaii County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, Hawaii County Council Chair Dominic Yagong in their individual and official capacities and the private investigator, Corporate Specialized Intelligence and Investigations, hired by Yagong. The County of Hawaii is also named because at the time of the decision, Kawauchi and Yagong may have been acting in their official capacity as County officers.
The County Council may have to hire outside counsel, and at their Tuesday closed session will likely discuss that possibility with Corporation Counsel, which acts as the County’s attorney, which includes acting as the attorney for Yagong, Kawauchi, and the County Council in their official capacity.
Yagong is also embroiled in an ethics complaint, filed by a member of the public who was concerned about a conflict of interest because Yagong works closely with the County Clerk in the elections office, the first County Council Chair known to be so involved in the Elections Office as well as the first County Clerk known to take an active, day-to-day role in the Elections Office. Although not named in the ethics complaint, at the first hearing Kawauchi chose to testify to defend Yagong, and accused the Ethics Commission Chair, John Dill, of having a conflict of interest because he wrote a letter expressing concern about the readiness of the County Elections Division prior to the August 11 primary. The hearing on the complaint will continue at the next Ethics Commission meeting.
See previous article about the suits here: