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Thursday, July 20, 2000

Ewa Villages
justifies bill

By Debra Barayuga


A codefendant in the Ewa Villages theft trial says a $19,494 invoice for relocation work that he submitted to the city for payment was justified.

Ewa Villages trial Stephen Swift is charged with one count of second-degree theft for overbilling the city by $11,000 for work performed when moving his demolition company, Transcend, from Ewa Villages to Waipahu.

Former city housing official and codefendant Michael Kahapea is accused of stealing nearly $5.8 million in Ewa Villages relocation funds by allegedly funneling contracts to friends and relatives in exchange for kickbacks.

Swift said Kahapea told him to submit a bid and a check made payable to the electrical contractor so it could be submitted for reimbursement.

Swift had hired C&C Electric to do $19,495 of electrical work but the subcontractor was unable to finish it because of unforeseen problems that arose, he said during questioning by his attorney, deputy public defender Todd Eddins. "So the job Transcend contracted C&C to do was completed to the full extent by C&C and us," said Swift.

He later paid C&C $8,854 for the partial work it had done, and he and his employees completed the rest of the $11,000 work, he said.

He was owed this money, under the law, based on the representations of Kahapea, Swift said.

Under questioning by Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee, Swift said he did not document the extensive work he and his employees did to make their new facility operational because he felt the city would take care of it.

He said Kahapea had assured him the city would take care of the water service, electricity and sewer. But when the city didn't come through, Swift said he complained to Kahapea. "It got to a point where I figured it wasn't going to get done so we did it ourselves."

"He neglected our needs totally," Swift said about Kahapea.

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