UPDATE: Na Leo TV’s management declines to comment on FBI search

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald An FBI agent walks toward a fence this morning while two others enter Na Leo TV in Hilo.

  • An FBI agent stands outside Na Leo TV in Hilo earlier this morning.

UPDATED 2:16 p.m.

The assistant general manager and marketing director of Na Leo ‘O Hawaii public access television said in a statement this afternoon “Na Leo TV staff and management are fully cooperating” with a search warrant executed on its Hilo studios and offices.

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“We have no further comment or information at this time,” Micah Alameda said in the statement.

In the statement, Alameda said the Puna candidates forum scheduled for 6:30 p.m. — featuring mayoral candidates Mitch Roth and Ikaika Marzo and the candidates for Hawaii County Council District 5, incumbent Matt Kanealii-Kleinfelder and challenger Ikaika Rodenhurst — has been cancelled.

”We are working with the Mainstreet Pahoa Association to reschedule this broadcast,” Alameda said.

Phone calls and emails by the Tribune-Herald to Alameda and Stacy Higa, president and CEO of Na Leo, have not been returned.

Lt. Rio Amon-Wilkins of the Hawaii Police Department’s Hilo Criminal Investigations Section said county police had not been notified of the federal raid.

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Federal agents are in the process of executing a search warrant on the studios and offices of Na Leo ‘O Hawaii public access cable television in Hilo.

“The case is ongoing. We’re not going to give out any details other than confirming it is us,” said Jason White, a special agent at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Honolulu office.

The president and CEO of Na Leo is Stacy Higa, a former Hawaii County councilman who finished fifth in a crowded mayoral primary election race in August.

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Asked if the search had anything to do with federal funding or if anyone was arrested, White said it’s “just a search” of Na Leo’s location at 91 Mohouli St. and declined to say what agents are searching for.

This story will be updated.