Senator targeted in ethics case
The state Ethics Commission plans to hold a formal, public contested-case hearing into allegations that state Sen. Brian Kanno improperly used his office to try and influence Norwegian Cruise Line.
The contested-case hearing is scheduled for June 7.
Republicans filed a complaint against Kanno last year, accusing the Senate Labor Committee chairman of misusing his position to lobby unfairly for a constituent, Leon Rouse, who was fired by NCL in 2004 after being accused of sexual harassment. Kanno also asked other legislators to sign a letter supporting Rouse, then helped introduce resolutions that critics say attempted to intimidate NCL.
The nonbinding resolutions, which never advanced, would have directed the state Tax Department to assess whether the cruise line should have to pay the state's hotel room tax.
Kanno (D, Kalaeloa-Makakilo) did not return a telephone message yesterday seeking comment on the Ethics Commission's action.
Kanno has defended his actions in the NCL case, saying he intervened because he was concerned about protections for workers. Rouse had said he was unfairly fired and was not allowed to face male co-workers who accused him of harassment. Norwegian said it took appropriate action in dealing with the matter.