An update on past news

Saturday, February 9, 2002

Hayashida dodged ethics
panel bullet

by Nelson Daranciang.

Question: What ever happened to the complaint against former state Department of Transportation Director Kazu Hayashida accusing him of violating state ethics laws by awarding nonbid contracts to companies in which his wife, son and stepson had financial interest?

Answer: The State Ethics Commission issued an informal advisory opinion last November that dismissed some of the charges, sustained others and concluded that no further proceedings were warranted.

The commission concluded that Hayashida probably violated state ethics laws by awarding two nonbid contracts to Belt Collins, a civil engineering company that employed Hayashida's wife as an administrative assistant, and for failing to list his wife's stock ownership in the company and directorships in two of the company's subsidiaries in his financial disclosure report.

However, a majority of commission members thought no further proceedings were necessary because they believed Hayashida had been honest in his belief that there was no conflict of interest in awarding the contracts, and because there was no evidence that the company received special consideration.

The members also thought Hayashida had been cooperative in his dealing with them and had promptly amended his financial disclosure report to add information he had previously omitted.

Commission Vice Chairman Ronald Yoshida wrote a dissenting opinion calling the violations a serious matter warranting a formal contested-case hearing.

The commission found that Hayashida did not violate state ethics laws by awarding nonbid contracts to a company owned by his son and to another company that employs his stepson because neither is a dependent child. The commission has since attempted to convince state lawmakers to amend state ethics laws to extend the definition of conflicts of interest to include emancipated or nondependent children. Those efforts have been unsuccessful.

After the allegations were made public, the state attorney general rescinded a $1.8 million nonbid contract awarded to KAI Hawaii, a company owned by Hayashida's son Ken, because it presented an appearance of a conflict of interest.

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