Caldwell’s former chief of staff testifies before the federal grand jury

Former Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s chief of staff testified Thursday before a federal grand jury, a month after receiving a subpoena as part of an ongoing public corruption probe by the US Department of Justice.

Gary Kurokawa, a former deputy director of the city’s Department of Budget and Financial Services and former administrator of the city’s real estate appraisal department, briefed Caldwell on the testimony after it was completed Thursday, Caldwell campaign spokeswoman Glenna Wong told the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

Caldwell’s former executive Roy Amemiya, former Honolulu Corporation counsel Donna Leong, and former Honolulu Police Commission chairman Max Sword are accused of conspiring to defraud the government by making a $250,000 payment to former Honolulu Police Commissioner Louis Kealoha to voluntarily leave the Honolulu Police Department in January 2017.

Caldwell withdrew from the governor’s race the day before Kurokawa testified, saying in a statement Wednesday that “lack of funding” and “lack of momentum” were reasons for the cancellation.

“Gary Kurokawa informed Kirk Caldwell that he had been subpoenaed over a month ago and again let Kirk know after he testified,” Wong said in a statement. “The investigation has nothing to do with Kirk Caldwell’s withdrawal from the race.”

Caldwell said he didn’t think his former cabinet members did anything wrong. In February, he issued a statement saying he had “great confidence in the integrity of Ms Leong, Mr Amemiya and Mr Sword”.

Amemiya, Leong and Sword turned themselves in to the FBI on January 12 and pleaded not guilty.

“Kirk Caldwell has not received a target letter, a subject letter, or any correspondence from the U.S. Department of Justice, nor has the USDOJ requested an interview with him,” Wong said.

The trial of Amemiya, Sword and Leong is scheduled for June 13th.

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