Higa requests new harassment hearing
HILO » A lawyer for Stacy Higa, a Hawaii County councilman and mayoral candidate, has asked the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for a new trial of sexual harassment allegations against Higa by a former county employee.
Melissa Chang accused Higa of sexual harassment but brought action only against the county and the Council as a whole without naming Higa individually.
The details of the accusations against Higa were not made public in a trial last year because Chang's attorney, Stanford Masui, asked federal Administrative Law Judge William Schmidt for a "gag order" against releasing information. Schmidt granted it.
Higa has repeatedly said he did no wrong and that Schmidt's ruling against the Council and the county this spring reflects badly on Higa while he is running for mayor.
The county appealed the ruling, including a judgment of roughly $200,000.
Higa's attorney, Michael Nauyokas, filed four motions yesterday in Washington, D.C. They ask for a new trial, for a separate lawyer for Higa, for disclosure of the entire file to Nauyokas and for a ban on county attorneys making "piecemeal" disclosures to the Council.
County attorney Lincoln Ashida said he cannot disclose the case to Nauyokas because of the gag order. Ashida is waiting for Schmidt's additional clarification of what he can discuss with his clients, the Council as a whole.