By letter dated September 19, 2012, Hawaii County Council Chairman, Dominic Yagong, scheduled a special meeting of the Hawaii County Council, to discuss the lawsuits filed against the County of Hawaii, the Hawaii County Council Chairman, and the Hawaii County Clerk.
Chairman Yagong stated, “The meeting was called because I was aware of the September 25, 2012 deadline to respond to the lawsuits and that the Corporation Counsel had failed to schedule a meeting with the Hawaii County Council to discuss the lawsuits and responses. The failure by Corporation Counsel to respond to the lawsuits by the September 25, 2012 deadline could have resulted in a default judgment against the County of Hawaii.”
To avert the possibility of a default judgment against the County of Hawaii, Chairman Yagong requested that the Corporation Counsel seek an extension to the September 25, 2012 filing deadline, which was granted. The new deadline to respond to the lawsuits is October 26, 2012.
Chairman Yagong further stated, “Also, the Corporation Counsel notified the Hawai‘i County Council that they have a conflict of interest. In light of Corporation Counsel’s assertion that they have a conflict of interest, and that they will not be representing all parties involved, it is inappropriate, and not in the best interest of the County of Hawaii, for the Corporation Counsel to advise and represent the County of Hawaii in matters relating to the lawsuits.”
According to Chairman Yagong, “We will be seeking an opinion from the State of Hawaii Office of Disciplinary Counsel to confirm the Corporation Counsel’s representation that they have a conflict of interest and therefore cannot represent county agencies, the council and all officers and employees named in these lawsuits.”
“It is in the best interest of the County of Hawai‘i to determine whether or not Corporation Counsel is in a legal position to advise the Hawai‘i County Council,” said Yagong.
The County Council will be discussing these matters at the October 3, 2012 Hawai‘i County Council meeting to be held in Hilo, Hawaii.