Official asks if taxpayers paid for mayor's tunes
A grant helped pay for production of the music CD, city official says
City Councilman Charles Djou said he's not trying to be Scrooge, but he wants an accounting of production costs of the Royal Hawaiian Band's Christmas compact disc, which features two songs by Mayor Mufi Hannemann.
"I just wanted to know how much it all costs," Djou said. "It goes back to stewardship of taxpayer resources."
In a Dec. 21 letter to Managing Director Wayne Hashiro, Djou asked for a detailed accounting of the production of the CD.
"Mayor Hannemann has publicly solicited for the purchase of the CDs on numerous occasions with the latest solicitation today at his press conference," Djou wrote.
The CD, "Christmas with the Royal Hawaiian Band & Friends," is the first project done with the new fundraising nonprofit, Royal Hawaiian Band Music Society.
The 16-song CD sells for $16.98, with proceeds going to the new support group.
"I think it's fantastic if the nonprofit is doing this, that there was no expenditure of taxpayers' money -- that's a great thing and I would applaud it," Djou said. "I just don't know."
Jeff Coelho, a key adviser to the mayor, said that as far as he knows, no city funding was spent.
Coelho, who was on vacation on the mainland when reached yesterday, said he did not have the exact figures available but said that a Hawaii Tourism Authority grant helped pay for production costs of the 2,500 compact discs.
On the CD, the mayor sings "Christmas Time Again, Aloha" with entertainers Nephi Hannemann, his brother, and Iva Kinimaka; and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" with the group Pali.
"I understand the mayor has a song on that CD. I don't know if he's already looking for another career after leaving the mayor's office," quipped Djou, who said he received a complimentary copy of the disc.
Djou said he's not trying to be Scrooge, "But I'm sure the mayor must think so. I mean, I think I have always been consistent in trying to be responsible stewards of taxpayers' money, whether it was with Mayor (Jeremy) Harris or whether it was with Mayor Hannemann."
Coelho said CDs "are really inexpensive to produce," with production costs at an estimated $4 per CD, but he did not have exact figures.
Coelho said an additional 1,000 CDs were ordered and estimates that about 2,500 to 2,800 copies have been sold.
Public appearances by the band and the mayor to promote the disc were volunteer time done outside of regular city work hours, Coelho said.
The proceeds from the sale will be used to help defray band costs such as paying for uniforms.