Honolulu building inspector pleads not guilty in bribe case
HONOLULU — A Honolulu building inspector pleaded not guilty Tuesday to allegations that he took bribes in exchange for favors, including nullifying a Waikiki building code violation.
Jason Dadez is among five former and current employees of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting U.S. prosecutors say took bribes from architects, contractors and others.
A Honolulu architect and a building plans examiner pleaded guilty last week.
Dadez allegedly took bribes from an architect who owned a building in Waikiki. In exchange, he provided favors, including nullifying a code violation at the building, an indictment alleges. Prosecutors also accuse him of other favors in exchange for bribes, including processing two applications for a wall sign at a Waipahu restaurant and processing permit applications for a solar contractor.
Dadez, who remains on paid leave pending the outcome of his case, is scheduled to go to trial in June.
Bill would increase fines for illegal tour buses
HONOLULU — A bill proposed by lawmakers would significantly increase fines for tour bus companies that repeatedly break state law.
State legislators this year have sought to crack down on tourist buses that illegally take up rows of parking spots, block residential driveways and drop visitors off in locations coveted by locals.
Under the provisions of the proposed bill, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission could fine operators $5,000 for the fourth and any subsequent offenses during a calendar year. The current maximum fine is $1,000. The commission regulates motor carriers.
The bill cleared both chambers of the state Legislature is set to enter a final round of negotiations between the two chambers before it is sent to the governor’s office for veto or approval.
The laws that regulate tour buses vary by location in the state.
Gareth Sakakida, the managing director of the Hawaii Transportation Association, which represents the commercial ground transportation industry, said his agency supports the proposed bill.
“This gives the PUC a bigger hammer,” Sakakida said. “Anything that the PUC wants to help their enforcement effort, we support.”
Public Utilities Commission Chairman Jay Griffin said between 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic, the commission issued 74 citations for improperly-operated tour vehicles.
But Griffin said since April 2020, the commission suspended citations because of the pandemic. Enforcement is expect to resume in the coming months, Griffin said.