Tuesday, November 9, 2004

2 more Harris donors
face criminal complaints

City prosecutors have filed criminal complaints against two local engineers for allegedly making illegal political donations to Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

In separate penal summons filed in state District Court on Nov. 1, prosecutors alleged that Rudy Mina, president of M&E Pacific Inc., and Ed Harada, a Hilo-based M&E Pacific vice president, made excessive political donations to the Harris campaign and gave money under false names.

The charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in prison.

Mina and Harada could not reached for comment.

Their arraignment dates have not yet been scheduled.

The charges were filed about a month after an Oahu grand jury indicted M&E engineer Harold Sugiyama of Hilo on similar charges.

They also come as the grand jury will begin a new hearing on Nov. 10 into the awards of nonbid city contracts to big political donors.

City prosecutors and the state Campaign Spending Commission have been investigating M&E Pacific's links to more than $30,000 in political contributions to the Harris campaign.

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.

Founded in 1959, M&E Pacific is one of the state's largest engineering firms. According to city records, the firm has received more than $15 million in nonbid city work.

Harris campaign officials have denied any connection between political contributions and the awarding of city contracts.

Campaign Spending Commission


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