Adult Emails Put Hawaii Tourism Director's Job In Jeopardy

HONOLULU - The employment status of the president and CEO of the Hawaii Tourism Authority is still unknown, despite a closed-door meeting where the agency's board of directors reportedly addressed his actions of receiving and sending adult emails on his state-issued computer.

The board of directors of the HTA met for 6½ hours Tuesday about Rex Johnson, who came under fire after adult material was found on his government email account. Johnson said he received adult emails on his government account and forwarded them to "fishing and baseball buddies." He said he didn't send the e-mails to business contacts.

"They didn't say anything to me. I've been waiting like the rest of you" Johnson told reporters after the meeting.

Some members of the board have called for his resignation, while his employees offered their support during the meeting.

The e-mails, which contained X-rated movie clips, slideshows and photographs of adult nudity, were discovered by Marion Higa, the state auditor, during an audit of the agency's major contractors.

Kelvin Bloom, the chairman of the authority's board of directors, said he hoped a decision would be made "as quickly as possible."

For his part, Johnson apologized to the board for what he did, calling it "a huge mistake."

"It was dumb on my part. I would never do it again," Johnson said Tuesday night.