Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Probe targets
2 from HPD
auto shop

The men arranged weekly
cash kickbacks in 3 years of
purchases, investigators say

By Rod Antone

City prosecutors are investigating one former and one current employee of the Honolulu Police Department's Vehicle Maintenance Section in an alleged scheme which cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Investigators said the scheme involved the men buying automotive parts at inflated prices in return for cash kickbacks and buying parts for personal use.

The investigation alleges that both men were working with an automotive parts shop that was not on the city-approved list of vendors from which the maintenance section was supposed to purchase.

From 1994 to 1996, the two men involved purchased parts weekly at an average markup of approximately 30 to 40 percent, the investigation says.

Subpoenas went out last week for witnesses to testify before a state grand jury regarding the case.

The witness list includes two HPD majors who signed off on parts invoices and six day-shift mechanics from the vehicle maintenance section as well as officials from the two automotive companies involved.

HPD spokeswoman Michele Yu said she was unaware of the investigation.

One of the men being investigated was a superintendent for the vehicle maintenance section before his employment ended last September.

Yu would not say why the city employee, who was with the vehicle maintenance section for 17 years, left the division.

The other man still works for the vehicle maintenance section as a shopkeeper. Each could face charges of theft, bribery and unlawful operation of a business, investigators said.

E-mail to City Desk

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