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Thursday, May 18, 2000

Police Chief
Carvalho’s fraud
verdict unlikely to
restrict federal funds

The Big Isle chief's ability
to seek funds to eradicate
marijuana is in question

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent


HILO -- A lawsuit judgment against Big Island Police Chief Wayne Carvalho for allegedly cheating on police promotions will probably not bar him from seeking federal money to fight marijuana, officials say.

Carvalho's eligibility to apply for $265,000 in federal marijuana eradication funds was called into question by County Councilwoman Julie Jacobson.

The potential problem is a U.S. Department of Justice rule that says the applicant for the federal grant cannot have a civil judgment against him during the past three years for any of several kinds of wrongdoing, including fraud.

In December, a jury returned a verdict against Carvalho for fraud and other wrong acts for allegedly helping candidates preferred by then-Chief Guy Paul get promotions in the 1980s.

Carvalho said he gave the names of Paul's preferred candidates to a promotion board. The head of the board admitted giving preferred candidates the answers to top questions.

But advising Paul was the only power of the board. Carvalho has said he will appeal the verdict.

In a letter responding to Jacobson's concerns, county attorney Richard Wurdeman says the federal rules do not automatically prevent an official in Carvalho's position from applying for grants, but an application should include a written explanation.

Meanwhile, Del Pranke, a citizen who frequently criticizes police actions, also filed a complaint with the Hawaii County Police Commission saying Carvalho "filed a false statement" by signing the application for the federal grant. That complaint is to be considered by the commission tomorrow.

Deputy county attorney Ted Hong said he and Carvalho already consulted with Hawaii District U.S. Attorney Steven Alm.

"He informally stated that he did not see any violation of the terms and conditions of the grant," Hong said in a letter to the commission. But a definitive opinion is being sought from officials in Washington, D.C.

In another outgrowth, from the police-cheating lawsuit, officer Tanny Cazimero earlier filed a complaint with the commission seeking to have Carvalho removed from office. He accused Carvalho of violating a police general order, which prohibits any officer from bringing "disrepute" on the department.

That complaint is still being investigated for the commission by a private agency.

The commission will consider a letter tomorrow from former commissioner Clarence Souza, who questions the commission's authority to consider Cazimero's complaint.

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