(BIVN) – The Hawai‘i County Board of Ethics determined that there is no prohibition on Kona councilwoman Karen Eoff to introduce, discuss or vote on a bill regulating short-term rentals, even though she herself owns a vacation rental condo in Kailua-Kona.
Eoff petitioned the ethics board for an Informal Advisory Opinion on the alleged conflict of interest. Rob Guzman, who owns the vacation rental Bananarama Cottage in Kalapana Seaview area, said Eoff will benefit from Bill 108, which she plans to co-sponsor. Guzman says the bill will exempt her commercial-zoned condo from the registration requirements for short term rentals in residential or agricultural zones.
Guzman also sent a letter to the ethics board requesting that the board conduct an investigation as to whether Eoff violated the Hawai‘i County Code of Ethics. The board did not take action on that request since Guzman did not file a petition on the matter.
0:00:00 – Stefan Buchta testifies in support of Eoff, and explains why the issue that bill 108 attempts to address is so pressing for Hawai‘i Island.
0:07:07 – Councilwoman Maile David testifies in support of Eoff.
0:12:08 – Roy Takemoto, executive assistant to Mayor Harry Kim, verifies that the administration was first working on a bill similar to 108.
0:14:58 – Corporation Counsel Joe Kamelamela testifies in support of Eoff, detailing the law as it applies to conflicts of interest.
0:27:00 – Before Rob Guzman testifies on his letter, the board goes into executive session.
0:27:40 – Counsel for the Ethics Board and former County Council chair J Yoshimoto discloses that he worked with Eoff during his time on the council. No one objects to is representations.
0:31:40 – Rob Guzman testifies on his letter to the board, and details his email exchange with Eoff in which he says Eoff claimed to not have a rental “of any kind.”
0:40:30 – The board discusses whether or not a petition is required in order to agendize decision-making related to Guzman’s complaint.
0:45:50 – Eoff speaks on her petition seeking an Advisory Opinion clearing her to co-sponsor Bill 108.
0:55:40 – The board talks about the County Council’s own procedures for a recusal due to a conflict of interest. The board goes on talk about their concerns and impressions on the conflict, before moving to issue an opinion clearing Eoff to introduce, discuss or vote on Bill 108.
1:20:04 – Guzman returns to say that Eoff continue to misrepresent the impacts of Bill 108.
1:27:10 – The board moves to file the Guzman’s communication. Guzman said he is not sure yet if he will file an official petition regarding the matter.