News Report

LoPresti apologizes for taking down Maluafiti campaign materials

In a statement emailed to The Independent, the Senatorial candidate says he returned the materials later, but says he has no excuse for his behavior.

in Ethics
Screen shot 2018-08-10 at 3.21.14 pm

A video circulated on Facebook today shows Senatorial Candiate and current State House Rep. Matt LoPresti visiting a house and, before the door is answered, slipping a door hanger from his primary opponent, Alicia Maluafiti, under his clipboard before introducing himself to the residents. The entire encounter is caught on film through a hidden camera in the door. Audio is recorded as well.

The video, which was shared by Sabrina Dela Rama, has been viewed some 15,000 times as of publication. Dela Rama was also featured in The Independent’s recent expose on concerns over Maluafiti’s candidacy brought by multiple community members that have interacted with her over the past few years. Dela Rama shared several inflammatory and graphic posts celebrating the death of a Hawaiʻi nonprofit leader and the deaths of multiple Mexican citizens in an accidental fireworks explosion. In the latter post, Maluafiti joins in the celebration of the tragedy.

LoPresti says the incident at the door happened the same week that Senate leadership held a controversial open house for Maluafiti.

The video has also appeared on Hawaii News Now within hours of it being shared. HNN declined to report on the same basic story The Independent reported on yesterday despite conducting lengthy interviews with ʻEwa residents who shared similar stories.

The Independent requested a statement from LoPresti and was supplied with the following:

Political campaigns can be intense and emotions can cloud otherwise good judgement of even the best people. I sincerely apologize and have deep regret over my having taken some of those flyers. What that video does not show, however, is that the very same day I returned flyers that were taken—and that person’s neighbors can attest to me coming back and hand delivering my opponents flyers that same day. I was ashamed of stooping down to the level of those who had been making false statements, stealing my banners, and removing my own flyers for weeks up to that day, but it is still no excuse for me stooping to their level. I strive to hold myself to a higher standard every day in my public and private life. I failed that standard that day, but I immediately tried to make it right and do the honorable thing. We all fail sometimes, my failure was caught on camera, but I’ve been ashamed of what I had done since the day it happened. I am grateful for this opportunity to come clean and admit my own failures and promise to my family, my friends, my opponent, and to my community to keep on the high road in the future no matter how negative a campaign gets or how clouded my emotions become.

I reached out to the home owners in person and via telephone and apologized as best I could. Audio is attached. Video is also attached of my talking with the neighbors who remember me returning the flyer that same day.

Neighbors for whom I went back that same day and returned the flyer ... agreed to corroborate this fact and even said they were grateful for my honesty and would vote for me tomorrow. They said they were willing to speak to media.

If there was ever any doubt that this Senate race in ʻEwa is the most controversial one on Oʻahu, it might be time to lay those doubts to rest.

Read Next

Neighbors, employees, animal advocates express concerns with Maluafiti