Honolulu ethics chief: Panel blocked his Kealoha inquiry

HONOLULU — A former head of the Honolulu Ethics Commission has criticized the panel for ending his investigation into the city’s former police chief and deputy prosecutor, a report said.

Chuck Totto said the commission should not have stopped an inquiry he was conducting into Louis and Katherine Kealoha, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Thursday.

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“The Ethics Commission did not carry out its duty to the public to properly investigate the Kealohas,” Totto said.

Louis Kealoha, the former police chief, and his wife, Katherine, who served as a top prosecutor, were convicted last month of conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The case involved the alleged theft of the couple’s mailbox and the use of Honolulu police personnel to frame Katherine Kealoha’s uncle.

Totto resigned as the ethics commission’s executive director in 2016 after he was prevented from investigating the Kealoha case, he said.

No one directly forced him to resign, Totto said, explaining that his situation became “untenable.”

Totto and investigator Letha DeCaires were prevented from investigating the Kealohas because of complaints the couple filed “without any basis of evidence,” he said.

Allegations in the Kealohas’ complaints that Totto and DeCaires were abusive, lied and leaked information to news organizations were not proven.

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The decision to pull Totto was done out of an abundance of caution because the Kealohas had filed lawsuits as well as complaints, said commission Chairwoman Victoria Marks.

“Basically, we were doing what we thought was best, and everything we could do, so as to not in any way, shape or form have that process tainted in any way,” Marks said.

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