Prosecutors: 2 Hawaii Lawmakers Took Bribes to Steer Bills

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER and AUDREY McAVOY, Related Press

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii state senator and a state consultant took bribes together with envelopes of money, Las Vegas lodge rooms and New Orleans on line casino chips in alternate for shaping cesspool laws, in accordance with federal allegations filed in courtroom Tuesday.

Former Senate majority chief J. Kalani English tried unsuccessfully to cover an envelope with a $5,000 bribe when FBI brokers stopped his automobile in January 2021 after a gathering with a enterprise proprietor who benefited from the cesspool laws, in accordance with a charging doc.

In all, English obtained greater than $18,000 in bribes, prosecutors stated, together with Las Vegas lodge rooms and money for a crab dinner for family and friends visiting from Tahiti.

English, 54, introduced his retirement in Might 2021, saying he was affected by long-term results of COVID-19. The Democrat represented east Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

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“Kalani is extraordinarily remorseful and deeply sorry for his actions,” his legal professional, Richard Sing, stated in a press release. “He has cooperated totally with the Federal Authorities and will likely be taking formal accountability within the type of a responsible plea to be accomplished within the coming days.”

A spokesperson for the state senate, Jacob Aki, stated the senate was “unaware of those allegations.” He declined additional remark.

A charging doc in opposition to state Rep. Ty Cullen, 41, stated bribes he obtained included on line casino chips and 4 money funds totaling $23,000.

A voicemail message left for Cullen at his workplace was not instantly returned. It was unclear if an legal professional represents him.

Home Speaker Scott Saiki stated Cullen submitted his resignation Tuesday. Saiki stated the Hawaii Democratic Social gathering will now want to start the method of nominating a alternative for Cullen.

Cullen represented Waipahu and West Loch on Oahu.

It was not clear if Cullen and English obtained the alleged bribes from the identical individual.

Separate charging paperwork for every lawmaker stated the bribe payer was somebody having a enterprise “nicely positioned to avail itself of publicly financed cesspool conversion tasks.”

In December 2019, the enterprise proprietor, recognized in each courtroom paperwork as “Particular person A”, requested Cullen in the event that they wanted any “assist,” and Cullen stated he was “paying loads debt.” The next month, he obtained an envelope with $5,000, Cullen’s charging doc stated.

Across the similar time, English obtained the identical quantity for his legislative help and instructed Particular person A, “I can undoubtedly use that proper now. All of the mortgages have turn into due,” in accordance with his charging doc.

Particular person A additionally later paid them to assist kill the payments, the courtroom paperwork stated.

Each males are charged with trustworthy companies wire fraud. If convicted, every faces a sentence of as much as 20 years imprisonment, and a positive of as much as $250,000.

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