Late financial filing stirs effort to impeach official


POSTED: Monday, January 26, 2009

WAILUKU » A petition drive has been launched to impeach Maui County Councilman Wayne Nishiki for failing to file his financial disclosure within the required deadline.

; Critics supporting the petition allege that with the late filing voters were deprived of knowing Nishiki had taken out a $100,000 loan from developer Everett Dowling.

The group, led by former Kihei Community Association President David Mackwell, said Nishiki could be impeached either by the county Board of Ethics or by the collection of some 4,260 signatures of registered voters in Maui County.

The group has opened a Web site, impeachnishiki.com.

“;It was a stolen election, in my opinion,”; Mackwell said.

Mackwell said he did not vote for Nishiki, but he has spoken to many people who did and now feel misled.

Under the County Charter, a Council candidate is required to file a financial disclosure statement within 15 days after filing nomination papers.

Nishiki filed his nomination papers to run for the South Maui residency on the Council on July 15 and his financial disclosure on Oct. 16.

His critics said the late filing effectively kept the public from discovering the $100,000 loan from Dowling until after the general election.

But his supporters said the information was available to anyone making a public query with the board as of Oct. 16.

Other Council candidates failing to file their financial disclosures within the 15-day period include Nishiki's general election opponent, Don Couch, and Council members Bill Medeiros and Sol Kaho'ohalahala.

Couch, Medeiros and Kaho'ohalahala filed financial disclosure statements by early August.

Mackwell said Couch, Medeiros and Kaho'ohalahala complied within a period that allowed voters to review their financial disclosure, but that Nishiki's delay effectively deprived voters of his financial information.

“;He filed so late that he had to know it wouldn't see the light of day,”; Mackwell said.

Glenn Kosaka, the attorney representing Nishiki, said filing a financial disclosure late does not constitute grounds for impeachment.

Kosaka, a former Maui County corporation counsel, said the board has a provision entitled “;late filings,”; outlining the process for candidates to comply with rules, and Nishiki complied with the rules.

Kosaka said Nishiki is not being treated fairly by his critics and is being singled out.

Kosaka said while some candidates are keeping political contributions from developers, Nishiki will be paying off his Dowling loan.