LIHU‘E — The County of Kaua‘i and Kaua‘i Police Department had no comment on a $1.84 million lawsuit settlement against the county concerning a current assistant chief.
Assistant Chief Mark Begley was put on paid administrative leave in March 2012 when he filed a stress-based worker’s compensation claim, citing a hostile work environment. He was reinstated in June 2019.
In 2016, Begley initiated a federal lawsuit against the county, KPD and several senior officers, claiming that the now-retired KPD Chief Darryl Perry and his successor, former Acting Chief Michael Contrades, harassed and retaliated against him for reporting allegations that another assistant chief acted inappropriately toward a subordinate female officer.
Perry, who could not go into detail about the lawsuit because of non-disclosure agreements, said he felt the allegations by the assistant chief were inaccurate.
“The fact that I retaliated against the assistant chief was not correct,” Perry said. “The counties’ insurance company wanted this issue settled because that has been going on for eight years.”
Perry said the majority of the settlement amount will most likely go to the attorneys.
“A number of attorneys hired by the other parties cost them a lot of money,” Perry said. “Most of the settlement money went to the cost of the attorneys, and some went to the plaintiffs.”
In a lawsuit filed on Aug. 9, 2019 in the Fifth Circuit Court, documents state that Perry was hired as a “‘change agent’ and faced leading a department that was divided.”
“To this day, I believe what I did was correct because I tried to hold the people accountable and responsible for what they did,” Perry told The Garden Island Tuesday afternoon. “I tried to do the best I could, and hopefully this never happens again. I had great expectations and high hopes, and I still have confidence in the police department. I was so naive about the ramifications, and I suffered the consequences.”
Perry reiterated that he didn’t retaliate against any member of the force.
“It’s been settled, and the only thing I want to assure is that the people of Kaua‘i know I absolutely did not retaliate,” Perry said. “I did the best I could do for the county, and we did a bunch of good things when I was chief.”
Last year, Perry asked the County of Kaua‘i for $2 million dollars in damages after what has been “a nine-year vendetta of continuous harassment.”
Perry alleges a protracted and public dispute between Perry and former mayor Bernard Carvalho began during a July 2010 meeting where Carvalho allegedly became “hostile, angry and yelled out offensive curse words at Perry,” the lawsuit stated.
Following the meeting, two assistant chiefs accused in the complaints were placed on paid leave, and the Police Commission gave Perry permission to work from home until an investigation into the matter was completed.
According to that lawsuit, Carvalho ordered Perry to come into his office the following day, where his managing director reprimanded the chief for failing to show up to work. Perry was suspended for dereliction of duty and insubordination the next day.
The Police Commission ordered Perry to return to work, but the county attorney and managing director ordered the acting police chief not to allow Perry to get his police equipment or access his office. About a month later, Perry was reinstated.
Perry is now retired, building a house on Hawai‘i Island in Hilo with his wife. He sells paintings for charity.
“The portion of the proceeds that I make from selling my paintings goes to St. Jude Children’s Hospital and children who have cancer,” Perry said. “I am not doing anything now besides painting and cleaning the yard.”
Carvalho could not be reached for comment as of press time.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or email@example.com. Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, contributed to this article.