Former police chief received discounted solar deal

  • Former Deputy Prosecutor, Katherine Kealoha (left) and her husband, retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, enter the Federal Courthouse Tuesday. (PHOTO BY DENNIS DOA / Star-Advertiser)

HONOLULU — Louis Kealoha was given a $20,000 discount for the installation of 26 solar panels at his Kahala home in 2013 as a favor to a police officer who worked part time for the solar contractor and because Kealoha was the police chief, according to the contractor.

Scott Clough, who owned the solar company, told jurors Wednesday in the ongoing public corruption and conspiracy trial of Kealoha and four other defendants that Lt. Derek Wayne Hahn, who worked evenings and weekends for his company in 2013, asked him to do the Kealoha job “at cost.”

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Clough said he agreed to do so because of the chief’s position and the possibility the job could lead to more business.

“It’s the police chief,” Clough said, responding to questions from Colin McDonald, an assistant U.S. attorney. “He’s a very important person.”

Clough said Kealoha paid about $25,000 for a job that normally would cost roughly $45,000, a savings of $20,000.

The disclosure came during the 15th day of the trial for Kealoha; his wife Katherine Kealoha, a former deputy prosecutor; Hahn; and two other officers, Minh-Hung “Bobby” Nguyen and retired Maj. Gordon Shiraishi.

The defendants are charged with conspiring to frame Katherine Kealoha’s uncle, Gerard Puana, for the alleged theft of the Kealoha’s mailbox from their Kahala home in June 2013 and then lying about their actions to federal investigators.

Katherine Kealoha, Hahn and Shiraishi all rested their cases on Wednesday without taking the stand — the last of the five defendants to do so. The two others, Louis Kealoha and Nguyen, rested their cases earlier in the week, also without taking the stand.

Defendants have a right not to testify, and juries are instructed not to use that against them.

Prosecutors in the conspiracy trial plan to call several rebuttal witnesses and closing statements are expected to be made Tuesday.

Clough was called to the stand by Hahn’s lawyer, Birney Bervar, to help buttress his client’s defense. Clough testified that emails he received on June 24, 2013, from Hahn included photos from the Kahala residence of a prospective customer. The emails were labeled “Kahala job.”

Hahn’s job with Clough’s company was to help bring in customers, and he received a 20% commission for each deal he arranged.

Neil Broom, a computer forensics expert called by Bervar, testified that the metadata he extracted from the emails showed the iPhone photos were taken from 8:16 to 8:25 a.m. June 22, 2013, the day after the Kealoha’s mailbox allegedly was stolen.

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That testimony was meant to show jurors that Hahn had a reason to be in the area that morning, pursuing a prospective solar deal.

Previous testimony by a government witness with expertise on cellphone analysis showed that Hahn’s cellphone received calls in the Kahala area the morning after the alleged theft.

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