Friday, August 27, 2004

Architect indicted
for Harris contributions

An Oahu grand jury indicted a local architect yesterday for allegedly making illegal political donations to Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

The grand jury charged Kurt Mitchell, chief executive officer of Kober Hanssen Mitchell Architects, with two counts of making political contributions under false names.

The charges, which are misdemeanors, are punishable by up to a year in jail.

Mitchell's attorney, Toby Tonaki, could not be reached for comment.

Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee said he expects additional charges to be filed against Mitchell and other individuals in the coming months.

Prosecutors have been investigating more than $10,000 in political contributions to the Harris campaign by people linked to the Kober Hanssen firm.

Under state law, donors can give no more than $4,000 to a mayoral candidate during a four-year election cycle. They also are barred from making political donations under false names.

Kober Hanssen, which traces its corporate roots to 1935, is one of the state's largest architecture firms.

The city has awarded the firm nearly $5 million in nonbid city jobs since 1987, including a $2.9 million contract to design the Kapolei Hale satellite office building.

Harris' attorneys have denied any link between political contributions and the awarding of city contracts.

The grand jury investigation comes as the state Campaign Spending Commission is conducting a separate investigation into contributions linked to the firm.

Campaign Spending Commission


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