The state’s former chief investigator is suing the state Attorney General’s Department over allegations that the department. discriminated against him because of his age when he was fired last year.
Daniel Hanagami, 70, served as the Attorney General’s special investigator between August 2013 and September 2022. This time he said The agency fired him from his position, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday evening.
Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are former AG Holly Shikada and former First Deputy Valerie Kato who are suing in their official capacities. government employees when Hanagami was fired.
Hanagami believes the efforts to oust him are related to the law that was proposed last year. create a new Department of Law Enforcement, which will eventually take over some of the police and investigative functions currently handled by the Attorney General’s office. In his opinion, such a move would reduce his authority.
The attorney general’s office declined to comment, and the state did not respond to Hanagami’s complaint Wednesday afternoon.
“There is no record of the Ministry of the Attorney General that was given to the Complainant and he has no information at this time,” said the office in a written statement.
Hanagami’s attorney, Ryan Harimoto, did not respond to phone messages.
Hanagami’s employment with the state was terminated on September 19, forcing him to surrender his state-issued equipment.
Hanagami went public with his complaints to the Attorney General’s office last year during a legal review of a fraud unit in the office and time Shikada’s confirmation hearing. The former chief investigator said the office the cases assigned to it were not pursued.
The problems at the office began in early 2021, when Hanagami held a series of meetings with former state AG Clare Connors, who questioned Hanagami’s judgment and leadership skills. Connors also brought allegations of misconduct against Hanagami, who denied the allegations were true.
Hanagami said he was later interrupted in another series of performance review meetings with Shikada and Gary Yamashiroya, the AG’s special assistant. He believes that those meetings were intended to force him to resign. The meetings ended after Hanagami provided a doctor’s note “indicating that the meetings were detrimental to Plaintiff’s health.”
Hanagami also alleged that Yamashiroya gave orders to his employees to undermine his authority.
Hanagami filed a complaint with the Hawaii Human Rights Commission during those meetings.
Hanagami alleged during the 2022 hearings that the AG’s office asked the state Department of Public Safety to investigate an incident in which he used a pepper spray bottle to detain a homeless person. house
According to the lawsuit, Hanagami met with investigators from the public safety department in August of 2022 and refused to give a statement, in part, because “they were conducting an illegal investigation that was not limited to the fraudulent allegations made against the Plaintiff by AG Connors and AG Shikada.”
Hanagami’s lawsuit alleges employment discrimination, one count of aiding and abetting, and one count of whistleblower violation. . He is asking for punitive damages, but the lawsuit does not specify an exact dollar amount.
Read the complaint below.