(BIVN) – The Hawaii County Board of Ethics again delayed their discussion on a draft order dismissing a petition by Edward Underwood on Tuesday due to a lack of quorum.
Underwood, the administrator of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources’ boating division, alleged that Prosecutor Mitch Roth was in violation of Sections 2- 83 (Fair Treatment) and 2-84 (Conflict of Interest) of the Hawaii County Code of Ethics because “he used his position to influence further private interest regarding a contested case hearing.”
Roth believes he was a target of retaliation for raising concern over possible corruption within the ranks of state government.
In October 2016, Roth testified at a Board of Land and Natural Resources meeting on Oahu concerning a request for a contested case by William Murtaugh, a disgruntled charter captain who was denied a request to renew his mooring at Keauhou Bay. Roth leveled pointed criticism of DOBOR during the meeting. In response, Underwood filed a complaint at the county Ethics Board, saying Roth improperly used his position as an elected official by giving the testimony.
The County Ethics Board is attempting to dismiss Underwood’s petition, however they have been unable to field a quorum in the last two meetings. Board member Douglass Adams has recused himself from the matter, while chair Ku Kahakalau and new member Dr. Sharon Bintliff were absent.
Ethics board member Ken Goodenow mentioned – in response to Rick Robinson’s statements last month – that it is the opinion of the corporation counsel that the board cannot refer matters to the State Ethics Commission.