Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, whose office was recently recused for conflict in two high profile cases, is now leveling conflict allegations of her own — against the County Council and County Attorney's office.
In an April 12 email sent to county officials, Shay claimed the County Council and County Attorney are conspiring against her to help Deputy County Attorney Justin Kollar win the upcoming prosecutor's race. She also accused the County Attorney's office of “corruption” and “vindictive actions,” as well as “unprofessionalism, deceit and manipulation.”
I've published the entire email below, but in it she accuses the Council and County Attorney of “behind the scenes political maneuvering” before going on to say:
It appears that the County Attorney’s Office is using the Council in its quest to pursue a personal attack on the OPA’s successful POHAKU program to obtain political advantage of another DCA, Justin Kollar, who the County Attorney is publicly supporting to run against me in the upcoming Prosecuting Attorney election.
Shay also vowed to seek “the assistance of the FBI, the Attorney General’s Office and the US Attorney’s Office to conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding corruption involving the County Attorney’s Office.” In the meantime, she wants the County Attorney's office to “conflict out," and special counsel hired to represent her office.
She was apparently prompted to fire off the email after seeing the Council Committee of the Whole's agenda for next Wednesday, which includes an executive session on the POHAKU program and her request to apply for technical support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Vera institute of Justice's national Cost-Benefit Knowledge Bank for Criminal Justice, along with “related matters.”
The "related matters" and Shay's on-the-offensive email raise the question: WTF is up with POHAKU — the “restorative justice” criminal diversion program that Shay started last year?
In the meantime, here's her email in its entirety:
> From: Shaylene Carvalho
> Date: April 12, 2012 7:18:53 PM HST
> To: Jay Furfaro , Bernard Carvalho , Gary Heu
> Cc: Mel Rapozo , Kipukai Kualii , Dickie Chang , Nadine Nakamura , JoAnn Yukimura , Tim Bynum , Jennifer Winn , Alfred Castillo Jr. , Jake Delaplane
> Subject: REQUEST FOR SPECIAL COUNCIL
> Aloha Council Chair Furfaro,
> It is with great surprise that I see an agenda item for the POHAKU Program related to the VERA grant. I was informed by you yesterday that the VERA grant item was going to be received. I then left the Council meeting, thinking that was the case, as we intended to withdraw our application for the VERA grant because we wanted to have discussions with Deputy County Attorney (DCA) Jennifer Winn. The reason for this discussion was that I received a draft of an opinion from DCA Winn, on Tuesday night, regarding the POHAKU program. I was confused as no one had contacted me regarding any potential problems with the POHAKU program or its relationship to the Vera grant. I posed numerous questions to DCA Winn and have yet to receive any response.
> The Charter provides that the County Attorney’s Office shall be the chief legal advisor and legal representative of all agencies.
> It is shocking to me that a DCA can write an opinion without attempting to communicate with the client she represents to obtain full information. At no time prior to Tuesday night was I contacted to provide me of notice of the reason for the opinion. This exhibits yet another pattern of unprofessionalism, deceit and manipulation. It appears that the County Attorney’s Office is using the Council in its quest to pursue a personal attack on the OPA’s successful POHAKU program to obtain political advantage of another DCA, Justin Kollar, who the County Attorney is publicly supporting to run against me in the upcoming Prosecuting Attorney election. This bias was evident as the County Attorney and the Council Chair agreed that DCA Kollar would be prohibited from representing the OPA in any capacity. Unfortunately, the mere prevention of DCA Kollar from interaction with our office, did not end the political motives of the CA’s office. If OPA was receiving the zealous representation by the CA’s Office that is required under the Charter, wouldn’t the appropriate action be to first contact the OPA instead of going to the Council Chair? Why wouldn’t the County Attorney, as the OPA’s attorney, call to inform the OPA of potential concerns it may have in its operation of the POHAKU program before going to the Council Chair? Doesn’t the Council Chair have an obligation to be fair and objective in posting of agendas with notice to the agency it is discussing information about? If this wasn’t personal, wouldn’t the County Attorney obtain ALL the facts before releasing a premature opinion based on limited facts? To my knowledge, the County Attorney’s Office assists the Mayor, all other departments, and commissions in readily bringing legal issues to their respective bodies, never to the Council. This is the first time that I have heard of this kind of behind-the-scenes political maneuvering with the Council and the County Attorney.
> Many other instances of the County Attorney’s vindictive actions have been revealed to the Council Chair and other members of the Council. These have included, baseless complaints to the Office of Disciplinary Counsel that have been unsubstantiated, meritless complaints to the Board of Examiners to prevent an attorney at OPA from graduating with his class and obtaining his bar license in a timely manner, purposely violating the Civil Service Commission rulings to hamper the operations of the OPA, informing the council of erroneous laws to vote against OPA’s funding bill, lying to a council member that an investigation was pending against that council member to secure a negative vote on bills for OPA, intentionally attempting to bar from participation council members only when their views are supportive of OPA, and continually attempting to trample OPA’s rights to testify at public hearings.
> The above instances make it clear that the CA’s office has consistently and systematically been working against the interests of its client, the OPA. This is a flagrant violation of not only its ethical and legal obligations to OPA, but also the Charter. Given these pervasive issues, I will be seeking the assistance of the FBI, the Attorney General’s Office and the US Attorney’s Office to conduct a comprehensive investigation regarding corruption involving the County Attorney’s Office. Until their investigation is complete, the OPA is requesting that the CA’s Office conflict out of any and all matters relating to the OPA so it can be fairly represented, and the public can be assured that no retaliatory actions are instigated.
> If you need further information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.
> Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho
> Kauai Prosecuting Attorney