Settlement may beBy Rod Thompson
offered in Big Island lawsuit
over police exams
HILO -- Hawaii County may make another offer to settle a lawsuit accusing the leadership of the Police Department of rigging promotional exams, but preparations are also under way for a trial in July, according to the county's attorney.
Attorney David Minkin says lawyers for the 13 officers, who filed the state court suit in 1997, rejected a verbal offer to settle last year, but the county has time to make a new offer.
County Council Chairman Jimmy Arakaki has confirmed that the offer was about $750,000 but came with a requirement that the officers agree to conditions that would prevent other officers from filing copycat suits.
Arakaki said the Council has not received a recent briefing on the case.
Attorneys David Gierlach and Michael Green, representing the officers, had sought $10 million in a similar federal case that was dismissed. They were not available for comment.
The suit is the continuation of a series of accusations and lawsuits growing out of actions by former Chief Guy A. Paul, who suspected some of his men of wrongdoing in 1988.
Paul took early retirement that year when counteraccusations were made against him, including that he allowed his favorite candidates for promotion to know in advance what questions would be on tests.
Defendants remaining in the suit are current Chief Wayne Carvalho and retired Deputy Chief Francis DeMorales.
Carvalho, the deputy at the time, has admitted telling then-Inspector DeMorales, whom Paul wanted promoted, but denies giving DeMorales orders.
DeMorales has said he understood the comments as orders to tell Paul's favorites what to study.
The 13 plaintiffs say the rigged system kept them from advancing.