Hawaii County councilmember’s government-issued credit card canceled

Hawaii County Councilmember Margaret Wille

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi’s government-issued credit card, also known as a pCard, was officially canceled by the state on Tuesday in the wake of his admission that he’d used it for personal expenses.

KHON2 also found out that a Hawaii County councilmember is now without a pCard, but it’s not because the card was misused.

Councilmember Margaret Wille no longer has a government-issued credit card. KHON2 found out it was canceled last month after a conversation with Hawaii County Clerk Stewart Maeda.

“There were some charges that were a little higher than usual and for approved travel and approved stay and I just wanted to make sure she was getting the best rate possible,” Maeda said.

Wille reimbursed the county and wrote an explanation for the charges: $20 more for a room because standard rooms were not available and a first-class airline ticket because the coach seats were taken.

“In our office here, our accountant is very diligent and whenever there are any charges that look higher than usual or anything that’s of question, she always bring it to my attention,” he said.

Maeda said he talked to Wille about the pCard, and they came to a mutual agreement.

“I said that I wasn’t using it and they were fine with me if I didn’t need to have it, and so they said shall we tear it up and I said that’s fine,” Wille said.

Previous coverage: Mayor’s credit card misuse under investigation, payments included bars, HSBA dues

Maeda said Wille’s card was not canceled because she misused it. He handles pCard charges for all councilmembers, but someone different, the county’s finance director was responsible for monitoring the pCard used by Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.

Last week, the mayor admitted he misused his pCard. Records showed the mayor spent nearly $900 at a Honolulu hostess bar, and tens of thousands of dollars on travel, meals and drinks.

The County and the mayor have not explained how these charges were approved, and how the mayor continued to misuse his pCard.

But Maeda told us he constantly questions expenses, which he says is a strategy that works.

“I think it’s always good to ask the question and ask people why they’re making these expenditures, so I think that’s how it should be,” Maeda said.

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