Wednesday, May 5, 1999

City & County of Honolulu

Family feud bares
alleged illegal
loans by Mirikitani

The allegation arises in a lawsuit
filed against the City councilman
by his brother

By Lori Tighe


Family members are suing City Councilman Andrew Mirikitani, saying he allegedly used his nephew's trust to finance more than $200,000 in campaign loans that were never repaid.

The suit also says Mirikitani used undocumented loans to pay for his campaign, which if true, would be a violation of campaign spending laws.

Mirikitani denied the charges.

"It's a family matter and, unfortunately, it had to go to court to be resolved," said Richard Mirikitani, the councilman's youngest brother, and co-petitioner of the suit.

"The last thing in the world I want to sound like is a hateful and vindictive person. It's unfortunate it had to reach this stage."

The suit petitions Circuit Court to remove Mirikitani as a trustee from the trust of his nephew, Carl Kunio Mirikitani Jr., and to repay damages.

The nephew was supposed to receive a six-figure trust left to him by his father, Carl Kunio Mirikitani, when he turned 25. He is now in his early 30s, managing a Blockbuster Video store in California, and still hasn't received the bulk of the principal, according to his attorney, John Perkin.

The councilman allegedly used a house partly entrusted to his nephew as collateral for more than $200,000 in loans to finance his campaign and personal expenses, the lawsuit said.

But he never repaid the loans, and the house at 225 Kaalawai Place in Honolulu went into foreclosure, according to the lawsuit.

The councilman yesterday said he never used trust funds to help his campaign.

"It's frivolous," Andy Mirikitani said. "This is a dispute between brothers and the claims are false. There is no basis to the claim."

The two Mirikitani brothers have been at odds for years. Most recently, Andy Mirikitani called on the Department of Planning and Permitting to nullify a permit given to Richard Mirikitani and his wife for a controversial wedding chapel in Aina Haina.

The councilman said he partly owns the parcel but never gave consent for the chapel project.

The oldest Mirikitani brother, Carl, set up the trust for his son in May 1974. Carl Mirikitani died at age 35 in 1983. The courts appointed the brothers, Andrew and Richard, as trustees of their nephew's trust several years later.

The suit claims the councilman has refused to cooperate with the liquidation of the trust and distribution of assets to his nephew since 1993.

If Mirikitani used undocumented or unreported loans for his campaign, it would violate the law, said Bob Watada, executive director of the Campaign Spending Commission.

"If we find it's not intentional, he could be fined up to $1,000 or three times the amount of the loan," Watada said. "If it's intentional, he can be prosecuted."

Star-Bulletin reporter Gordon Y.K. Pang contributed to this report

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