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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, November 11, 2001

LeMahieu accused of excess cell phone use

By Scott Ishikawa
Advertiser Staff Writer

Stung by charges that he made excessive personal calls on a state-issued cellular phone, former state schools superintendent Paul LeMahieu yesterday responded to a legislative committee.

LeMahieu said he may hold a press conference to give his side of the story. He was unsure whether he would testify before the committee, which wraps up its investigation into special-education spending Friday.

Committee co-chairwoman Sen. Colleen Hanabusa yesterday said state records showed LeMahieu made 2,035 calls totaling more than 6,500 minutes from his cell phone to Kaniu Kinimaka-Stocksdale from August 2000 to October of this year.

Kinimaka-Stocksdale is owner of the Hilo-based company Na Laukoa, which was awarded a special-education contract. LeMahieu resigned last month as state schools superintendent after admitting that he had an affair with Kinimaka-Stocksdale.

Both parties said the relationship began two months after the contract had been awarded to the company. LeMahieu had been granted sweeping powers to help the school system comply with the Felix consent decree, designed to address deficiencies in the state's special-education services for public schoolchildren.

LeMahieu disputed the alleged number of calls made on his cell phone to Kinimaka-Stocksdale, and said his personal long-distance calls were placed on a calling card.

"I was under the impression that all calls in the range of service, even on the outer islands were considered local calls," LeMahieu said. "I have been diligent in separating business and personal long-distance calls."

LeMahieu said he was angered by other queries made by the committee yesterday indicating that his wife, Marina Piscolish, was on a possible list of consultants benefiting from the Felix contracts.

"To hear those remarks even insinuating that about my wife is extremely painful," he said. "She has on numerous occasions volunteered her time to schools and district offices, and she has never received even one penny of compensation."

Committee co-chairs Hanabusa and Rep. Scott Saiki yesterday said LeMahieu did not respond to their request to appear, but that he would not be subpoenaed.

But LeMahieu said he recently received a letter from the committee saying it did not consider it necessary to subpoena him for testimony.

"I find it hard to testify before something where they've already made their conclusions from the beginning," he said.