Attorney says
investigator had
OK for ammo

The Prosecutor’s Office
employee says he is the
victim of retribution

An investigator for the city prosecutor's office who is under investigation for keeping 40,000 rounds of office ammunition in his garage did so with permission from his workplace, his lawyer said yesterday.

Honolulu attorney Michael Green said his client, Craig Whang, has been an investigator for the prosecutor's office since 1992 and for years has been the trainer who would qualify other investigators for firearm use.

Whang kept the ammunition at his Mililani Mauka home because it was easier than "running back and forth to the office," Green said.

"I think they were full aware of the fact that he had the ammunition at the house and was taking it to the firing range," he said. "It was just easier to put it in his garage."

Investigators with the prosecutor's office qualify for firearms at the Koko Head Public Shooting Complex. Investigators use another facility, Magnum Firearms on King Street, to familiarize themselves with nighttime firearm use.

Earlier this week, Prosecutor Peter Carlisle confirmed that his office and the Honolulu Police Department were investigating a member or members of his staff regarding "city and county law enforcement equipment being kept at a private residence." Carlisle did not identify Whang, but sources familiar with the case told the Star-Bulletin that he was the subject of the probes.

Carlisle said he became concerned about questionable purchase orders and unaccounted-for inventory in October. By November he had contacted police Chief Lee Donohue to request that the department's Internal Affairs Division look into the allegations as an outside investigator.

HPD officials said this was the first time that they can recall Internal Affairs investigators being used to investigate a case outside the Police Department.

Carlisle said he felt that Internal Affairs investigators were the best qualified, since the staff member or members in question were part of the investigative division, which has police powers.

So far, Carlisle said HPD's investigation shows no clear-cut criminal violations, but mostly internal procedural violations. However, Carlisle said he could not go into details about either his office's investigation or that of HPD's due to state privacy laws.

"There are still questions regarding employee misconduct and possible administrative disciplinary action," Carlisle said. "Such matters are, by statute, confidential."

Neither Carlisle nor Green would comment about other equipment from the prosecutor's office that was recovered from Whang's garage on Dec. 22. Sources said that besides an estimated $16,000 worth of ammunition, other recovered equipment included several guns and bulletproof vests. The equipment was ordered and signed for by Whang and purchased through the office, according to the sources, who asked not to be identified because the investigations are ongoing.

The equipment also included items that were not issued to office investigators, such as .45-caliber ammunition, instead of the 9 mm used; retooling machinery used to customize firearms; and flashlights that can be attached to barrels of rifles, the sources said.

"I don't know anything about the other equipment," Green said. "I only know about the ammunition. ... He wasn't stealing or selling it.

"He's a certified trainer who qualifies them (other investigators) for firearms."

Green said that the allegations against his client are in retaliation for complaints Whang made about six months ago regarding "potential workplace violence" and "improper hiring practices."

Green would not go into details about Whang's complaints, but added that "if what he's saying is true, it's absolutely despicable."

"I think they want to get rid of him," said Green. "He's not going away. They can fire him but he's not going away."

A prosecutor's office spokesman said Carlisle could not comment on Green's allegations because of confidentiality laws.

Whang has been on paid administrative stress leave for the past two months, according to sources. Green said since Whang made his complaints six months ago, he has been "demoted from the investigator with a high level of authority" to someone who was "put on the road to serve warrants."

"His career has been destroyed, and this is the final nail to make it seem like he's a thief," he said.

Investigators from the city Internal Control Division spoke last week to staff members at the prosecutor's office about the allegations against Whang. One of the people they spoke with was Whang's mother, who works as an executive assistant to Carlisle.

According to city disclosure of interests documents, Whang also has another job as a process server. The city Ethics Commission requires employees to file the forms if they have a second job that could be a conflict of interest.

Whang reported that he serves civil documents between 6 and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.


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