Weird: Obama's Two-Week Hawaiian Vacation Rental Was Illegal

Guy Benson
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Posted: Jan 06, 2011 8:46 AM
I'm trying to get outraged by this story, but it's just not happening.  Yes, the President of the United States must be held to the highest ethical standards, etc. etc...but this can't really qualify as a scandal, can it?  (Via Weaselzippers):

President Barack Obama's two-week stay at his Hawaii Winter White House was illegal under a long-standing Honolulu ban on short-term rentals.

Obama did not break the law by staying at the house, but the property owner who rented his house to the Obamas does not have the permit that would allow a stay of fewer than 30 days.

Glenn Weinberg, the owner of the Kailua estate, told Civil Beat that it was legal for him to rent to the president for a short stay because he kept the home empty for the rest of the 30-day period. However his is a common misconception about Honolulu law.

"I don't see any non-homeowner certificate that allows them to do short-term rentals," Mike Friedel of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting’s Code Compliance branch told Civil Beat. "If they're doing short-term rentals, it's illegal."


Technically, it wasn't even the Obamas who crossed a legal line here; it was the owner's responsibility to follow the letter of the (seemingly intrusive and draconian) law.  I suppose one could argue that the Obamas and/or the White House should have done some better due diligence to ensure that a presidential vacation complied with Hawaii's various local ordinances, but does anyone have the energy to get worked up over this one?  If so, you're welcome to state your case in the comments.