Categorized | Elections, Featured, News, Videos

Council cancels meeting on elections lawsuit

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Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 247 Editor

Communitcation 849 to hold an executive session regarding the lawsuit filed by Ted Hong.

Communitcation 849 to hold an executive session regarding the lawsuit filed by Ted Hong.

The County Council met very briefly Tuesday morning, but adjourned before discussing the lawsuit filed by terminated Elections Office employees Pat Nakamoto and Shyla Ayau for discrimination and other charges.

Council Chairman Dominic Yagong said the only item on the agenda – Communication 849 – had been withdrawn.

Communication 849 addresses the lawsuit that names Yagong and County Clerk Jamae Kawauchi, as county employees and as individuals. The county also is named as a defendant.

Following Tuesday morning’s abbreviated meeting, Yagong issued this statement:

By letter dated September 19, 2012, Hawaii County Council Chairman, Dominic Yagong, scheduled a special meeting of the Hawaii County Council, to discuss the lawsuits filed against the County of Hawaii, the Hawaii County Council Chairman, and the Hawaii County Clerk.

Yagong said, “The meeting was called because I was aware of the Sept. 25, 2012 deadline to respond to the lawsuits and that the Corporation Counsel had failed to schedule a meeting with the Hawaii County Council to discuss the lawsuits and responses. The failure by Corporation Counsel to respond to the lawsuits by the Sept. 25, 2012 deadline could have resulted in a default judgment against the County of Hawaii.”

To avert the possibility of a default judgment against the County of Hawaii, Yagong requested that the Corporation Counsel seek an extension to the Sept. 25, 2012 filing deadline, which was granted.

The new deadline to respond to the lawsuits is Oct. 26, 2012.

Yagong said, “Also, the Corporation Counsel notified the Hawaii County Council that they have a conflict of interest. In light of Corporation Counsel’s assertion that they have a conflict of interest, and that they will not be representing all parties involved, it is inappropriate, and not in the best interest of the County of Hawaii, for the Corporation Counsel to advise and represent the County of Hawaii in matters relating to the lawsuits.”

Yagong said, “We will be seeking an opinion from the State of Hawaii Office of Disciplinary Counsel to confirm the Corporation Counsel’s representation that they have a conflict of interest and therefore cannot represent county agencies, the council and all officers and employees named in these lawsuits.”

“It is in the best interest of the County of Hawaii to determine whether or not Corporation Counsel is in a legal position to advise the Hawaii County Council,” Yagong said.

The County Council will be discussing these matters at the Oct. 3, 2012 Hawaii County Council meeting to be held in Hilo.

Also following the meeting, Kawauchi issued this statement:

Today, the Office of the Hawaii County Clerk received media inquiries concerning the cancellation of the Sept. 25, 2012 special meeting of the Hawaii County Council.

Kawauchi said, “The deadline for filing responsive pleadings in the lawsuits has been extended to Oct. 26, 2012. The Hawaii County Council cancelled the special meeting today to allow additional time to explore issues regarding the representation of all named defendants. The Hawaii County Council will be discussing these matters at the Oct. 3, 2012 Hawaii County Council meeting.”

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