LIHUE — Retired Kauai Police Department Chief Darryl Perry is asking the County of Kauai to pay him $2 million in damages due to what he described in a claim filed against the county last month as “a nine-year vendetta of continuous harassment.”
In the claim, Perry accuses former Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. — along with several other high-ranking county administrators and KPD officers — of engaging in a prolonged, conspiratorial campaign against him involving harassment, abuse, threats, unwarranted disciplinary action, and non-payment of accumulated sick and vacation leave.
“These actions were pervasive, willful and wanton and one with conscious indifference,” Perry wrote on a form dated May 13, notifying the county of his claim.
The notification was forwarded to the county attorney’s office and the County Council, along with all other claims filed against the county by Kauai residents. Most of these claims involve much smaller dollar amounts and usually involve some sort of negligence by a county employee resulting in relatively minor property damage. For instance, all six of the claims settled against the county in the first quarter of 2019 were related to either car accidents or cracked windshields and settled for under $3,000.
Perry’s complaint is different. He is asking for compensation that is of magnitude greater than the vast majority of other claims filed against the county, while seeking damages that are more complicated and less tangible. In response to a question on how the county intends to proceed, a spokesperson for the county attorney said only that the office is reviewing the claim at this time.
The county attorney’s office is authorized to settle claims for amounts less than $5,000, but those requiring larger amounts have to be submitted to the County Council for approval. Ultimately, the matter will almost certainly end up in court, and Perry’s claim appears to simply be a precursor to that end.
Hawaii state laws protect county governments from personal liability unless a written notice is first submitted to the appropriate local government official specifying the location, time and extent of the damages. In other words, if you want to sue the county, you have to fill out the form Perry filled out last month.
Perry declined to comment on whether he plans to file a lawsuit. In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Perry said only that he hasn’t heard anything from county officials yet regarding a settlement, and gave the following statement: “I was reluctant to go ahead and file this claim, but those responsible need to be held accountable.”
Perry submitted a letter of resignation in June 2018 and stepped down as chief of the KPD a month later, after 11 years with the department. His retirement came after years of conflict with former Mayor Carvalho, who suspended Perry in 2012, sparking a lawsuit over the extent of mayoral authority that reached the Hawaii Supreme Court, which ruled essentially that Carvalho overstepped his bounds.
Caleb Loehrer, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.