Recycling firm
denies favoritism

Island Recycling was given
a city contract even though it
had various legal problems

A City Council committee will look into whether "favoritism" played a role in Island Recycling Inc.'s getting the contract to process paper and other recyclable items in the Mililani curbside recycling pilot project.

City & County of Honolulu City Council members raised questions at a news conference yesterday on why Island Recycling got the job even though it had permit violations and other problems to clear up with government agencies.

"There's a number of allegations that have been posed before us," said Councilman Rod Tam, chairman of the Public Works Committee. "Whether (there's) some preference given to Island Recycling, there's been some reference in terms of favoritism."

Tam said Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration has been slow so far in giving the Council information.

"Perhaps this public hearing process will bring light to it more," he said.

Administration and Island Recycling officials deny any preferential treatment.

"Absolutely not," city Managing Director Ben Lee said. "There's no ... inappropriate relationship with Island Recycling."

Company President Jim Nutter said he looks forward to clearing up any misinformation and answering any questions the Council has.

"While we will, of course, cooperate fully with Councilman Tam, we believe his investigation will find that the contract was awarded fairly, and that the Mililani pilot recycling program has proven to be successful," Nutter said in a written statement.

The Mililani program began in November as an experiment to see if the city could take curbside recycling islandwide.

Island Recycling won the contract to process recyclables and currently is the lowest bidder to do the same for the island. Island Recycling's bid came in at $36.50 a ton and Honolulu Resource Recovery came in at $68 a ton for the islandwide contract.

But Tam said allegations brought to the Council's attention by environmental watchdog Carroll Cox deserves an open airing.

"This reeks of corruption," Cox said.

Lee said the Mililani recycling contract was awarded according to procurement regulations.

Both Lee and Nutter responded to the specific allegations brought by Cox, including that Island Recycling had no zoning clearance, conditional use permit, special management area permit and solid waste management permit.

Lee and Nutter said that the permits were either issued or weren't needed.

Lee and Nutter acknowledged that there are 11 structures that were erected without building permits. Nutter said six of the structures were removed last year and a seventh was destroyed in the fire that raged through the company's Sand Island plant last month. The company is now in the process of bringing the remaining structures into compliance with after-the-fact building permit applications.

Nutter said the company has asked for a review of the $15,000 in fines for the illegal structures.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --