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Honolulu councilman files complaint against appointee

June 5, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu councilman has filed an ethics complaint claiming a mayor’s appointee used city resources to support his political opponent.

Councilman Trevor Ozawa claims Misty Kela’i, the executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, used that agency’s Instagram account to “like” posts made by Tommy Waters, who is challenging Ozawa for his seat on the council this fall, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

Kela’i also used the account to post a favorable comment for Waters on one of his photos, Ozawa said. The likes and comment have since been removed.

“These types of lapses in judgment are no excuse for such actions, especially during an election year,” Ozawa said in a statement.

The posts by the agency’s Instagram account were in violation of city charter provisions, Ozawa said. He filed a complaint with the city ethics commission last month, he said.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Jan Yamane said she could not confirm receiving the complaint.

The office of Mayor Kirk Caldwell has been made aware of the complaint. Kela’i did not immediately respond to email and phone messages seeking comment. City spokesman Andrew Pereira said she had no immediate comment.

“Misty Kela’i acknowledges that she made an honest mistake and has contacted Councilmember Ozawa’s office to personally apologize,” Pereira said in a statement. “This was a one-time, isolated incident and we will wait for the Ethics Commission to go through its process.”

The office periodically reminds employees that they cannot use city time, equipment or property for campaign activities, Pereira said.

Waters said his campaign has not coordinated with any city official. In a statement, he described the complaint as a “distraction from the major issues in our race and the concerns of East Oahu residents.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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