Maui County Council removes prosecuting legal professional from workplace

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West Hawaii Today

WAILUKU – Maui County Council voted to remove the county prosecutor on allegations of violence and threats in the workplace.

Friday’s unanimous vote to remove District Attorney Don Guzman approved a resolution passed by Mayor Michael Victorino in October, the Maui News reported.

Guzman, who has been on administrative leave since September, said Friday that he had hired a labor law attorney and would appeal the decision. In an email he characterized the allegations as “defamation and defamation”.

Guzman also said he was denied due process during an investigation and subsequent trial.

The Council’s Governance, Ethics and Transparency Committee heard statements from five prosecutors on November 5, giving examples of Guzman showing anger, yelling, cursing, making demeaning comments and threats, and taking physical measures.

Those who testified said there were six events this year and another in 2015.

Other staff wrote and spoke in support of Guzman.

The council commissioned an independent investigation by an outside attorney into a complaint from Assistant Attorney Leslee Matthews over an email exchange and angry confrontation with Guzman over a coronavirus-related security plan.

Guzman “threatened intimidation in order to inflict psychological damage or injury,” the investigation report said.

“I could have taken a different approach to the situation, but I believe your disobedience required a strong statement at this point,” Guzman wrote in response to the report.

Guzman has since completed awareness training and dealt with personal medical issues, he said.

Guzman held the seat of the council in Kahului from 2013 to 2018 and was appointed head of the public prosecutor’s office by Victorino in March 2019 after an unsuccessful mayor application for 2018.

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