City book’s violations
judged not intentional
Former Mayor Jeremy Harris' administration "rushed" to publish his book, "The Renaissance of Honolulu," but did not knowingly violate state purchasing laws in the process, city attorneys have determined.
That conclusion came in a letter to Councilman Charles Djou, who asked the city corporation counsel to investigate whether there were any illegal expenditures made in putting the book together.
"Even if it doesn't rise to the level of criminal negligence, it still was a waste of money," Djou said.
But the letter also said that to date, the city has received no money from the sale of the $19.95 book. Harris administration officials have said that 5,000 copies were printed and that the proceeds were supposed to go to the city.
The letter does not say why the city has received no money from the sales. The report's author, Deputy Corporation Counsel Duane Pang, could not be reached for comment.
According to the report, the design, production, printing and binding of the book were divided into three contracts.
The project began as a 48-page executive summary of the city's annual report and was estimated to cost $37,703. The cost later ballooned to $108,000 when the focus changed and the project was "expanded" to the 224-page book.
Pang wrote that the city has paid a little more than $85,000 toward that bill.
The city also entered into a consignment agreement with the Islander Group for the nonexclusive right to sell the book, according to the report. The agreement called for the city to receive 70 percent of the wholesale price of the books and that payments would be made to the city three months after the sale of each book. The book went on sale in December.
"Our impression is that the procurements were done late in the fiscal year and rushed as a result of the change in scope. ... We are unaware of any evidence that there was a 'knowing violation' of the law," the letter to Djou said.
Pang also wrote that he could not conclude that the project was a misuse of taxpayer dollars since it was funded by the public communication budget.
Djou said the Ethics Commission is still reviewing the case.