Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett

HONOLULU -- The office of Hawaii Attorney General Mark Bennett is investigating claims that Hawaiian Health Department officials received "improper payments" from a major company recently fined for environmental violations, according to a report in the Honolulu Advertiser. The allegations of corruption emerged during negotiations between Waste Management of Hawaii and the state Health Department over a $2.8 million fine the department levied on Waste Management over problems at its Waimanalo Gulch landfill. The department fined the company about one year ago for 18 environmental breaches over the previous two years. One of Bennett's's deputies recently informed state Senator Colleen Hanabusa, whose district the landfill sits in, by letter of Waste Management's allegation. The letter cites "certain of [Waste Management's] expense records in support of its allegations," the Advertiser reports. Bennett has since ordered "a complete investigation" of the corruption charges, the letter stated. Waste Management is "cooperating fully" with that investigation, according to a company spokesman.

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