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State briefs for November 11

Kealoha refused lawyer’s visits

HONOLULU — Katherine Kealoha, a former Honolulu prosecutor convicted of conspiracy in Hawaii’s biggest corruption case, refused to come out of her jail cell to meet with her lawyer.

Kealoha’s attorney, Gary Singh, said Tuesday that he tried to visit her at the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.

“My client had refused to come down twice last week to see me,” he said during a telephone hearing. “I was told by the guards she did not want to have a visit with me.”

He needed to visit her to discuss her Nov. 30 sentencing hearing. Her now-estranged husband, retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha, is also scheduled to be sentenced that day.

A jury convicted the Kealohas of conspiracy in a plot to frame a relative to keep him from revealing fraud that financed the couple’s lavish lifestyle.

Katherine Kealoha said she didn’t come down because of two incidents that happened in her unit at the detention center. She said she wasn’t comfortable discussing over the phone.

She said she wrote Singh a “detailed letter” explaining. He hadn’t received it yet.

U.S. District Judge J. Michael Seabright instructed Singh to wait for the letter and schedule a legal call with her so she doesn’t have to leave her unit.

Protesters block work on Oahu drainage project

HONOLULU — A protest by neighbors of an Oahu housing development stopped construction crews from completing the subdivision’s drainage project, which demonstrators think will harm marine wildlife.

Residents say the project in Maili will discharge polluted storm water into the Mailiili Stream channel.

The $300,000 drainage project was designed to serve the 52 units of the Hawaiian Community Development Board’s Hale Makana o Maili affordable-housing project.

The target completion date for the $22 million apartment complex is about a month away, but the drainage project was suspended pending a resolution.

Neighbors filed a lawsuit saying the project’s density threatened to overwhelm the rural neighborhood. The lawsuit was dismissed but was appealed.

The Mailiili Stream meets the sea on the north side of Maili Beach Park. Protesters said the drainage could ruin a natural estuary habitat where residents have fished and enjoyed viewing sea turtles, native birds and other creatures for generations.

“It’ll kill the environment of the stream,” said neighbor Michele Kuahine, who conducted a Nov. 2 vigil with about 15 others to protest the unfinished concrete structure. “This is an irreplaceable natural resource that must be protected.”

Hawaiian Community Development Board Executive Director Kali Watson said the off-site drainage system was not part of the original design, but resident and city representatives asked the developer to address chronic flooding.

A city budget allocation for the project was later cut. The company instead moved forward with a proposal approved by the city.

The state Department of Health directed the developer to remove about 80 sandbags placed in the stream to prevent excavation runoff. Watson said he also was asked to look into additional permitting requirements by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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