The state Attorney General's office is investigating Kauai Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and the POHAKU “restorative justice” program she launched last year.
That information was revealed by County Attorney Al Castillo this morning before the sound was turned off to the webcast of the County Council meeting, which had just gone into an executive session.
Castillo told the Council the review into Iseri-Carvalho's hallmark POHAKU program, which has been plagued by allegations of state procurement law and county ethics violations, is still ongoing. He said he met with the AG's office yesterday. "It is under review by I would say their..." Castillo was saying when it was apparently discovered that his voice was being broadcast. The county Finance Department also has been conducting its own investigation.
The issue was on the Council agenda because Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura is asking her colleagues to approve her request that the county Board of Ethics conduct an investigation into whether violations of the Code of Ethics have occurred in connection with Iseri-Carvalho's creation and operation of the POHAKU program.
It has previously been disclosed that the county prosecutor's office has no contract with Strategic Justice Partners LLC, a mainland firm that is running the POHAKU program. Additionally, Jake Delaplane, Iseri-Carvalho's first deputy, is named in state business records as the agent for Strategic Justice Partners, and the prosecutor's office is listed as its business address.
In an apparent attempt to shift the focus of the investigation, Iseri-Carvalho told the Council she wants its members to join her in calling for a criminal and Board of Ethics investigation into former Prosecuting Attorney Craig DeCosta, because the bad check restitution program he initiated served as the precursor for POHAKU.
Iseri-Carvalho has repeatedly refused to answer the Council's questions about POHAKU until she is given special counsel. She is currently seeking re-election, and has been endorsed by SHOPO (State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers).