BYNUM DENIES REPORT OF ILLEGAL UNIT IN HOME AND BARRING INSPECTION
(PNN) -- In the face of a recent “October surprise” report of wrongdoing, recently reelected Kaua`i County Councilperson Tim Bynum denies he ever refused planning inspectors access to his home and says that the whole matter was politically motivated and perpetrated by Kaua`i Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho and her close associate Mel Rapozo.
Bynum and Rapozo ran against each other in last Tuesday’s council election finishing fifth and sixth respectively and were battling to stay in the top seven to win a council seat previous to the election.
In an exclusive interview with PNN Bynum said that he is currently awaiting an inspection of his home after the planning department had mistakenly issued a violation notice based on someone having illegally entered onto his property, looking through the window and seeing a rice cooker in a room that contained a refrigerator and a sink.
For a unit to be “an illegal dwelling unit within his single-family residence”- as Bynum was alleged to have in his home according to a blog post by journalist Joan Conrow six days before the election- it must, according to county code, contain a stove which alone is the determining factor.
The plans for the room had been approved by the planning department and are reflected in Bynum’s building permit, he said.
When Bynum received the violation notice he says he contacted planning officials by phone and they agreed that the violation notice based on the rice cooker complaint was bogus and said they would send him a letter requesting an inspection, which Bynum says he has yet to receive.
Bynum said that the incident began when his son and daughter-in-law, who were at the time living in the room in his residence, were involved in a domestic dispute. The police came and the report wound up on the desk of Prosecutor Iseri. (*- see correction below)
Iseri has been a political enemy of Bynum’s as exhibited by her multiple attacks and personal tirades against him during both of their time on the county council from 2006-08.
Bynum says that the information that he had what might have been considered an illegal second unit was communicated by Iseri to Rapozo who, he says, was directly or indirectly the source of Conrow’s report.
Rapozo and Iseri were well known political allies during their time together on the council and their relationship continued when she hired him as an investigator for the prosecutor’s office after she was elected prosecutor and he was off the council following an unsuccessful run for mayor, both in 2008.
Bynum said that when he constructed his house he carefully cleared the plans with the planning department and obtained a building permit noting the refrigerator and sink and did not include a stove specifically because planning officials told him that it would have made the room an “illegal unit”.
The planning department originally sent Bynum a notice of violation based upon the “trespassing and looking though the window and seeing a rice cooker” incident but, he says, he immediately called and was told that the notice was in error and that a rice cooker did not constitute a stove according to county code. At that point he was told that a notice requesting an inspection would be forthcoming which, he says, he will be happy to comply with when it arrives.
Conrow did not respond to an email seeking more information on the complaint and the complainant but Bynum says that the complaint was officially filed anonymously.
Generally county departments do not accept anonymous complaints.
Bynum declined to say how he knew of Iseri and Rapozo’s involvement.
It is a violation of the Kaua`i Code of Ethics to use one’s position to grant special favors to others, whether material or political.
Both Rapozo and Conrow have been angrily critical of Bynum recently over Bynum’s introduction- and the eventual passage- of a bill that allowed previously-banned transient vacation rentals on agricultural land.
For more background see the Monday, November 1, “got windmills?” post.
* Correction: In an email today Bynum clarified that although the room in question was built for his son, his son’s girlfrind and their child, the domestic dispute involved a family friend and her boyfriend who were confronted by the boyfriends ex while at Bynum’s home. We regret the error.