Tuesday, October 5, 1999

Police corruption
trial opens

The Hilo trial opens amid
accusations of cheating at
the highest levels

Ex-deputy chief admits
promotions were fixed

By Rod Thompson


HILO -- The lawsuit in which 21 police officers sued their bosses over alleged cheating on promotions is about corruption at the highest levels, says attorney Michael Green, who represents the officers.

During the 1980s, when Chief Wayne Carvalho was the deputy chief and retired Deputy Chief Francis DeMorales was an inspector, the two conspired to help a chosen few get promotions, Green told a jury during the opening of the case yesterday.

Chief Guy Paul told Carvalho whom he wanted to see promoted, Carvalho told DeMorales and DeMorales told the chosen candidates what subjects, or even what specific questions, to expect on an oral test.

The three-member promotion boards, which were often headed by DeMorales, then reported back to Paul a "short list" which included the name Paul wanted to hear.

Attorney David Minkin, representing Hawaii County, then gave jurors an opposing view.

The case is old, he said. The most recent instance of alleged cheating is 6 years old; other instances are 15 years old.

The suit covers the period from 1984 to 1988, when Paul was chief, and from 1988 to 1994, when Victor Vierra was chief.

It doesn't matter what names were on the short list, because all of the names came from a longer list approved by the Department of Civil Service, Minkin suggested. Paul had the legal right to chose anyone on the longer list.

Attorney Brian De Lima, representing Paul, said Paul created the process of using promotion boards because he didn't know everyone in the department of about 300 officers well, and wanted some advice.

But the process didn't always work the way Paul expected. When an opening for a major's post became available in Kona, Capt. Henry Silva failed to make it to the short list.

Paul was shocked, De Lima said, because Silva had already been doing the equivalent job for several years.

"Silva had a good record. Hank Silva had tremendous rapport with the Kona community," De Lima said.

Silva got the job.

Green said that was one of many promotions DeMorales "fixed."

Another was Ken Mathison, who "flunked" the oral exam, but was promoted anyway after allegedly doing work on Carvalho's home, Green said.

Mathison was later convicted of murdering his wife.

The example of Mathison is irrelevant, Minkin suggested, because not one of the 21 plaintiffs was seeking the sergeant's slot that Mathison won.

In the end, the 21 plaintiffs will fail, because they can't prove two legal requirements, Minkin said. They can't prove Carvalho's and DeMorales' actions caused them to lose a promotion and they can't prove the two acted with malice.

Ex-deputy chief admits
promotions were fixed

By Rod Thompson


HILO -- Were promotions in the Hawaii County Police Department fixed from time to time? attorney Michael Green asked former Deputy Chief Francis DeMorales.

"Yes," DeMorales answered during opening testimony yesterday in the suit of 21 officers against himself and Chief Wayne Carvalho.

Did officers have an equal opportunity for promotion? Green asked.

"I know some didn't," DeMorales answered.

After admitting that he helped officers cheat on promotions, DeMorales was alternately painted as good or evil yesterday.

"Francis DeMorales is the only person who has ever told the truth. He did so to try to set operations (in the police department) straight," said his attorney, Alika Thoene.

DeMorales changed test scores because former Chief Guy Paul ordered him, Thoene said.

Paul's attorney Brian DeLima countered, "Francis DeMorales cheated on his own volition."

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