LIHU‘E — A county employee, who settled a complaint against former Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri for $108,000 in 2016, has responded to Iseri’s allegations that multiple lawsuits brought against her office were intended to sabotage her failed 2012 reelection campaign.
Iseri, who is now seeking to regain the Office of Prosecuting Attorney in Saturday’s special election against Acting Prosecuting Attorney Rebecca Like, made her claims in a profile published by The Garden Island on Nov. 26.
“All of this was planned, the lawsuits that were there,” Iseri said at the time. “I’m almost certain that that’s the reason because they could not attack me on any of the services I had done as a prosecutor because my conviction rates were 97%.”
But OPA Victim/Witness Program Director Diana Gausepohl-White has pointed out her complaint against Iseri was made in December 2013 — one year after Iseri lost the election to then-Deputy County Attorney Justin Kollar.
“My complaint was filed after she was out of office,” Gausepohl-White said this week.
Gausepohl-White said the 2013 complaint filed in Fifth Circuit Court was preceded by three internal complaints, seven grievances and two Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints.
“I am also not a liar and I’m also not a conspirator,” she, a white American, said. “I acted as an employee, using the processes available to me to deal with the situation.”
Her complaint alleged Iseri discriminated against her because of her race, national origin and atheism.
Gausepohl-White noted a complaint made by former Kaua‘i County Councilmember Tim Bynum, who died in 2016, is among the suits Iseri has decried.
“He’s not here to defend himself,” she said.
Bynum, who accused Iseri’s OPA of politically motivated prosecution, reached a $290,000 settlement with the county in 2014.
Documents obtained from Kaua‘i County show that six lawsuits brought against Iseri’s OPA, including Gausepohl-White’s, generated a total of $1,687,873.80 in settlements and legal-defense fees.
Current opponent Like was among those who settled, for $25,000. She filed suit in 2012, claiming Iseri had retaliated after Like did not openly support her boss’s candidacy.
Iseri declined to use the word “conspiracy” when interviewed in October, claiming the word “has a negative tone.”
But when asked if she claimed there was a coordinated effort to flood her office with charges of discrimination so she lost reelection, Iseri agreed.
The former prosecutor, who continues to deny all accusations made in the settlements, maintained the lawsuits were planned when approached this week.
Gausepohl-White takes issue with Iseri’s self-evaluation as county prosecutor, noting Iseri has publicly said her only mistake was “not hiring the right people.”
According to Gausepohl-White, two of the five OPA personnel who filed complaints against Iseri’s office had been hired before Iseri became prosecutor in 2008.
“I think it’s worth mentioning if nothing has been learned since 2012,” she said. “Nine years, and it doesn’t appear as if there were any personal responsibility accepted in all of that.”
Source: The Garden Island