Friday, October 3, 2003

Harris donor
charged with
money laundering

A contractor allegedly gave
to campaigns using false names

City prosecutors have filed a felony money-laundering charge against a government contractor who funneled more than $48,000 to Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

In a complaint in state Circuit Court last week, prosecutors alleged that Edward K. Noda gave tens of thousands of dollars under false names to the campaigns of Harris and other prominent local Democrats, including former Gov. Ben Cayetano and former Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono.

The complaint also said Noda gave several thousand dollars to Gov. Linda Lingle's campaign under a false name.

Noda, who is listed as vice president and corporate secretary at Edward K. Noda & Associates, could not be reached for comment.

He is scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge Dan Kochi on Thursday for his arraignment and plea.

Noda faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 if he is convicted on the money laundering charge. He is also charged with misdemeanor false-name contribution, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

In July, Honolulu police arrested Noda on suspicion of money laundering and making false-name contributions but released him pending investigation.

The arrest came a month before Noda's firm agreed to pay a $74,000 fine to the state Campaign Spending Commission for making illegal political donations to Harris, Cayetano and Hirono.

A commission investigation found that employees at Noda & Associates, and their friends and relatives, had donated $48,750 to Harris, $41,000 to Cayetano and $25,000 to Hirono during the past seven years.

The commission also said that Noda gave the Lingle campaign $7,000 in 1998 through two individuals. The Lingle campaign has said that they were not aware of the donors' links to the Noda firm and have returned the money.

Under state law, donors are barred from making political donations under false names. They also can give no more than $4,000 to a candidate in a mayoral race and $6,000 for a gubernatorial race.

Noda is the latest top executive of a local engineering firm to be charged with a crime as a result of prosecutors' 20-month criminal investigation into the Harris campaign.

Earlier this year, SSFM International Inc. Chief Executive Michael Matsumoto and Controlpoint Surveying Inc. President Alden Kajioka pleaded guilty to misdemeanor campaign spending violations.


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