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Supreme Court Reverses Connections School Employee’s Ethics Code Violations

This morning, the Hawaii State Supreme Court issued its decision reversing the Hawaii State Ethics Commission’s finding that Eric Boyd, from Connections Charter School in Hilo, violated the State Code of Ethics for purchases made in 2007.

Eric Boyd

Eric Boyd

In 2010, the State Ethics Commission charged Eric Boyd with twenty-six (26) counts of violating the State Ethics Code.  In 2012, the Ethics Commission amended the charge and reduced the charges to twenty (20).   After a two day hearing, the Ethics Commission found that Boyd violated the State Ethics Code and imposed the maximum fine of $10,000 and a recommended to the Governor that Mr. Boyd be terminated on February 8, 2013.

Boyd appealed the Commission’s decision to the Third Circuit Court which reduced the number of violations to nine and imposed a fine of $4,500, which Boyd paid.  Both Boyd and Ethics Commission appealed to the Intermediate Court of Appeals.  On August 19, 2015, the Intermediate Court of Appeals denied Boyd’s appeal and reinstated all charges and penalties.

After six (6) years of defending himself, the Hawaii State Supreme agreed with Mr. Boyd and ordered the Commission to dismiss all charges against Boyd.  Boyd said that he is profoundly grateful the Supreme Court heard his case.  Boyd noted that although this case had a devastating effect on his personal and professional life, he had to prove to his children and family, that what he did and how he did it, was the proper way to do things.  “The lesson of my case is to fight for what you believe in and it is something I teach my kids everyday,”  Boyd said.  “I am also grateful that Ted Hong, my attorney, was always been at my side and believed in me.”

When asked for comment, Ted Hong, an attorney in Hilo, noted that the Commission under the former leadership of Mr. Leslie Kondo and Ms. Maria Sullivan, should have listened to their argument about jurisdiction from the beginning “instead of ruining Eric’s life and dragging his name through the mud for the past six (6) years.”  Mr. Hong also noted that no state agency, including its officers and board members are above the law.  “We are humbly grateful that the  Supreme Court took a careful look at the arguments that we made.”

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