LIHUE, Kauai — The Kauai County Council has agreed to settle a civil rights lawsuit filed by one of its members, Councilman Tim Bynum.
The Council voted 4-2 on Friday to accept a $290,000 settlement reached by the county’s insurance carrier, The Garden Island newspaper reported.
The case dates to 2012, when Bynum filed a lawsuit in federal court naming the county, Supervising Planning Inspector Sheila Miyake and former Prosecuting Attorney Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho in their individual and professional capacities.
Bynum alleged the two officials violated his civil rights when they investigated and prosecuted him for zoning law violations at home.
Those actions, Bynum alleged in court documents, were taken against him “in an alleged attempt to chill his advocacy on the County Council and harm (his) chances of re-election.”
A majority of Council members said they would rather put the case behind them than spend more taxpayer money on it, others said a payout would set a chilling precedent and usher in more lawsuits.
The case, said Councilman Ross Kagawa said, is a waste of taxpayer money and “needs to go to court to prevent future lawsuits like this from happening.”
The Office of the County Attorney gave the case to Kauai’s insurance carrier, Everest National Insurance Company, which secured a settlement the day before interviews with Bynum and county employees were supposed to be submitted to the court.
The settlement dismissed charges against Iseri-Carvalho in her official capacity as a county employee. But Iseri-Carvalho refused to sign the settlement in her personal capacity, saying she wanted to take the case to court and clear her name.
A federal judge in February later granted Bynum’s request to dismiss those charges.
“The court will not be drawn into this continuing political feud,” U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright wrote in his ruling.