One former Democratic state representative out of Hawaii has been slammed with a prison sentence of two years in the wake of admitting to accepting bribes in order to sway his legislative stance.
Ex-Hawaiian state Rep. Ty Cullen has previously taken both gambling chips and direct cash in return for making a stance to lobby against cesspools directly for the benefit of a Honolulu businessman. He was slammed with a fine of $25,000 and given the minimum recommended federal prison sentence by prosecutors because U.S. District Court Judge Susan Oki Mollway explained that he had aided officials that were researching the case.
“This was a grievous breach of public trust on your part. It appears to have been motivated by greed, and it stretched out over a number of years,” stated Mollway when talking with Cullen. “I am very concerned that this was not a momentary lapse of judgment.”
Cullen issued an apology for the part he played in the large bribery scheme. “I want to say I’m sorry to my family who stayed by me, to my friends, to my constituents, my community, and the people of Hawaii,” he stated. “I will continue to work to make my wrongs right. And ensure that this never happens again.”
Throughout his time in the state house of Hawaii, Cullen confessed to taking $30,000 from businessman Milton Choy, who was known to work in the field of water management and, according to court documents, owned a business that would have benefitted from the shutting down of the cesspools — large tanks in which waste was stored at many homes when sewage infrastructure had not been fully developed on the island.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Sorenson explained that the highly disgraced legislator had assisted with the investigation. “We did have substantial cooperation from Mr. Cullen which resulted in assisting an investigation that we’re doing,” explained Sorenson.
Jamie Kalani English, a fellow Democrat and the former Hawaii Senate Majority Leader, was slammed with a prison sentence of close to 40 months for another quite similar bribery-related crime.
As the representative for east Maui and both Molokai and Lanai islands, English pled guilty to honest wire services fraud that took place back in 2022 and also admitted to accepting bribes from a number of local business owners amounting to a staggering $18,000 for the purpose of “shaping legislation” which would help the company taking part in the publicly financed conversion of cesspools.
“[English] peddled the power and influence of his position as a Hawaii State Senator and Majority Leader to enrich himself and betray the trust bestowed upon him by those he was elected to serve,” stated U.S. prosecutors in a recently released memo.