Friday, January 25, 2002

City & County of Honolulu

Petition seeks ouster
of Council’s Mansho

It is the first such action ever
taken against a city official

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

A petition seeking to remove City Councilwoman Rene Mansho through impeachment proceedings has been filed with the Hawaii Supreme Court, the first such action against a city official.

The petition, filed by the law firm of Bickerton Saunders & Dang on behalf of more than 1,400 constituents, charges Mansho with malfeasance, misfeasance and/or nonfeasance in office.

The effort is being led by a loose-knit group of Central Oahu and North Shore residents who previously tried unsuccessfully to remove Mansho through a recall effort.

Mansho is also being investigated by both city and federal investigators for improper use of city funds.

The councilwoman, who has served on the Council since 1989, could not be reached for comment last night.

Mansho has already acknowledged that she violated rules of both the state Campaign Spending Commission and the city Ethics Commission and has paid $80,000 in fines and reimbursements after admitting that she:

>> Used her city aides, while on taxpayer time, and other resources for campaign fund-raising purposes.

>> Expended campaign funds for noncampaign-related expenses including charging to her campaign travel and lodging for city-related conferences on the neighbor islands and abroad for which she was also being reimbursed by the city.

"The community has been outraged by Ms. Mansho's many illegal activities, and she needs to be held accountable," said attorney William Saunders Jr. "We need justice and closure on this issue. Impeachment will help vindicate the public interest and restore integrity to county government."

No one on the Council has faced impeachment proceedings in the Charter's 28-year history.

The City Charter states that 1,000 signatures from registered voters are needed for the court to consider an impeachment petition.

The five-member Supreme Court must first determine if it has jurisdiction over the petition. If the court then accepts the petition, the justices must then determine if it is mandatory or discretionary for them to hear the case. At the point in which the case is heard, the court could select a master to investigate the charges.

Said Saunders: "In light of the very serious findings already made against her, and in light of her own admissions of illegal misuses of taxpayer and campaign resources, her refusal to resign on her own accord defies common sense and shows arrogant disdain and disrespect for her constituents and all of Honolulu's other residents and taxpayers."

The effort to remove Mansho through a recall election failed when it fell short of the 5,303 signatures necessary to have it put on the ballot. That would have left her political fate in the hands of the 1st Council District's constituents. The charter required the signatures to be collected within 60 days.

Mansho's term ends next January. Term limits bar her from seeking another consecutive term.

City & County of Honolulu

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin