Tuesday, February 6, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, February 6, 2001

Council member discloses wedding business earnings

City Council members' financial disclosures

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

Honolulu Councilman John Henry Felix last year earned more than $100,000 from the wedding business he continues to run from his oceanfront Aina Haina home despite citations by the city and mounting fines.

Felix declared the income as part of annual financial disclosures for 2000 that were due Jan. 31 at the city clerk’s office.

City law requires that officials declare their income within a range. Felix estimated that his wedding income, under the business name Eagle Corp., brings in between $100,000 and $149,999.

Felix said after he figures in the cost of hiring lawyers and expert consultants that include former city Land Use Director Don Clegg, he is losing money. "I didn’t make a profit," Felix said.

The city Department of Planning and Permitting said Felix is violating land-use laws by operating a commercial wedding business in a residential district, but Felix and his experts say that city ordinance permits the weddings as a "home occupation."

As of yesterday, the city tallied the fines owed at $42,800.

Felix and Duke Bainum are the wealthiest of the nine members of the City Council.

Felix said it’s wrong to call it an illegal business because "in this country, a person is innocent until proven guilty." He said he’s standing up for his rights and for those of others who have home businesses that include swimming lessons, hula halau, day-care centers and care homes.

"It’s a matter of principle," Felix said. "I stand up for what I believe in."

Felix said he has an average of about one wedding a day — usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. — although some days there are several and other days there are none.

Most members of the council reported that they rely on their council salary of $42,500 for most of their income. Some supplement that with part-time jobs and rental income.

The disclosures also require elected and appointed city officials to list debts of more than $3,000 such as for mortgages and car loans, what property they own and positions they hold in various organizations.

Bainum, a physician, also works part time at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.

But most of his additional income comes from his Mainland business interests, he reported. They include part ownership of banks in Arkansas and as director of the Boardwalk Inn Inc. and Timothy Mark Corp., both in Ocean City, Md.

Felix and Councilwoman Rene Mansho both serve on a number of boards.

Mansho is a director for 15 organizations that include Hosoi Garden Mortuary, Goodwill Industries, Mililani YMCA and Hawaii Junior Miss. She is chairwoman of Carole Kai Charities and handles community relations for the Aloha Boat Days Committee.

She reported that she receives compensation from only one of those positions. From Hosoi, she reported earning between $1,000 and $9,999.

Felix, a director for InterIsland Petroleum, reported earning between $25,000 and $49,999 from that post. His volunteer posts include: chairman emeritus of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, board member for Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America, honorary Portuguese consul in Hawaii, and chairman emeritus for the March of Dimes in Hawaii.

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