1 year prison for architect who paid $100K in bribes to Honolulu building permit officials

Jul 28, 2023, 12:11 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — An architect was sentenced to a year in prison for paying more than $100,000 in bribes to Honolulu city employees in exchange for expediting approval of his projects.

Five workers were charged in 2021 and accused of taking bribes in exchange for favors, including expediting building permits, in a scandal that prompted the department to overhaul its permitting process. They have since pleaded guilty.

At William Wong’s sentencing in U.S. District Court in Honolulu on Thursday, his lawyer said Wong played a major role in exposing the scandal by cooperating in the investigation, Hawaii News Now reported.

Defense attorney William Harrison said his client’s success in getting projects through the Department of Planning and Permitting raised suspicions and he confessed when questioned by the FBI, the Honolulu news station reported.

“I caved in under pressure,” Wong said in court. “My clients were suffering from the corruption in the system. I truly regret that I participated.”

After the indictments, the department announced changes, including hiring an outside investigator to examine internal controls. Other actions included requiring applications for single-family dwellings to be submitted electronically and exploring the elimination of cash transactions.

National News

Associated Press

Wildfires prompt California evacuations as crews battle Oregon and Idaho fires stoked by lightning

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Wildfires prompted evacuations in Northern California amid a rapidly growing wildfire Thursday, a day after powerful winds and lightning strikes from thunderstorms rattled eastern Oregon and Idaho, cutting power and stoking fires, including one in Oregon that was the largest active blaze in the United States. Another fast-moving wildfire forced thousands […]

32 minutes ago

Associated Press

Judge won’t block Georgia prosecutor disciplinary body that Democrats fear is aimed at Fani Willis

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia judge has denied a preliminary challenge to block a commission created to discipline and remove state prosecutors, finding that it doesn’t violate the U.S. or state constitution. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Paige Reese Whitaker on Tuesday rejected the request for an injunction against Georgia’s Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission, which […]

41 minutes ago

This photo provided by Sipp Culture shows farm apprentice Kira Cummings working on the Sipp Culture...

Associated Press

Major funders bet big on rural America and ‘everyday democracy’

Someone may need to tell Carlton Turner that he’s working to save democracy. Turner is co-director of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production in the town of Utica, population 600, where his family has lived for eight generations. The organization, better known as Sipp Culture, is helping breathe life into a region that’s seen schools, […]

1 hour ago

Trader Gregory Rowe works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, July 22, 2024. After...

Associated Press

Small stocks are about to take over? Wall Street has heard that before.

NEW YORK (AP) — Suddenly, smaller stocks seem to be making bigger noise on Wall Street. After getting trounced by their larger rivals for years, some of the smallest stocks on Wall Street have shown much more life recently. Hopes for coming cuts to interest rates have pushed investors to look at smaller stocks through […]

1 hour ago

In this Aug. 18, 2011 photo, prison guards ride horses that were broken by inmates as they return f...

Associated Press

Prisoners fight against working in heat on former slave plantation, raising hope for change in South

Beneath the blazing summer sun on a former slave plantation, Lamont Gross and fellow prisoners stooped in long rows, picking vegetables by hand under the watchful eyes of armed guards on horseback. He said breaks were short and infrequent, with nothing to protect workers from the heat. “I saw guys collapse,” Gross said of his […]

1 hour ago

"Teddy," a 7-year-old chow mix, dons a doggie cap at a park, Monday, July 15, 2024, in Phoenix. As ...

Associated Press

Booties. Indoor dog parks. And following the vet’s orders. How to keep pets cool this summer

PHOENIX (AP) — As much of the world swelters, it’s not just people who need help with the dog days of summer. Pet owners have to consider how to both shield and cool down furry family members as intense — at times deadly — heat waves become more common. “It’s really important to remember that […]

2 hours ago

1 year prison for architect who paid $100K in bribes to Honolulu building permit officials