How’s this for irony: in the summer of 2005, James Takeshi Viela—president of the Wailuku-based insurance company Kage & Viela and the newest member of the Maui County Liquor Commission—pled no contest to one charge of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, according to the Hawai‘i criminal justice database.
The Liquor Commission is an all-volunteer, nine-member panel that decides who gets liquor licenses in Maui County. The mayor nominates new members, who are then subject to approval by the County Council, and serve five-year terms.
The criminal justice database indicates that Viela was arrested for DUI on Mar. 1, 2005. On April 28, 2005, he pled no contest to the charge.
He was fined $300 (as well as additional other court costs and fees) and had his drivers license suspended for 90 days, though for the latter 60 of those days driving to and from work was allowed. The database shows Viela paid all fines and fees and complied with all the court’s sanctions.
Viela, who did not respond to three calls asking for comment on this story, previously served on the LC Board of Adjudication from 2000 to 2004. His application form also indicates that he’s a member of the Lions Club of Honolulu, the Maui Chamber of Commerce and the Maui Contractors Association.
It’s unknown whether the County Council or Mayor Charmaine Tavares knew (or cared) about Viela’s DUI when she nominated him to the Liquor Commission. There is no space on the official application form for prior criminal convictions. Marian Feenstra, Mayor Tavares’ executive assistant who handles commission appointments, did not respond to a call for comment.