Saturday, December 4, 2004

Engineer is fined for
illegal donations

Royce Fukunaga must pay
$2,000 for his contributions
to Harris' campaign

A state judge issued a $2,000 fine against a local engineer who prosecutors linked to more than $47,000 in illegal political donations to Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

State District Judge Lono Lee also ordered Royce Fukunaga, president of Fukunaga & Associates Inc., to do 100 hours of community service after Fukunaga pleaded no contest yesterday to making an excessive political donation and giving money under a false name.

The judge granted a defense motion for a deferral of the no-contest plea, giving the 62-year-old Fukunaga the opportunity to have his criminal case dismissed if he stays trouble-free for a year.

Deputy Prosecutor Landon Murata opposed the deferral and asked for a year of probation, saying Fukunaga's offenses undermined the electoral process.

According to Murata, Fukunaga funneled more than $47,000 to the Harris campaign through a network of friends and relatives.

Pam Tamashiro, Fukunaga's attorney, disputed the $47,000 figure but did not elaborate. She argued that Fukunaga cooperated with investigators for more than a year and is deserving of the deferral.

Tamashiro said that her client, who has no criminal record, has headed the 16-employee company for more than 35 years.

According to an April 2003 conciliation agreement with the Campaign Spending Commission, Fukunaga, his employees and their relatives made nearly two dozen political donations worth $45,750 to Harris. They also contributed $4,500 to former Gov. Ben Cayetano's campaign, $9,000 to ex-Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono's campaign and $3,000 to former Maui Mayor James Apana's campaign.

Of the contributions to the Harris campaign, the commission said that $31,750 was made in false names and another $17,750 exceeded legal limits.

State law bars donors from giving more than $4,000 to a mayoral candidate during a four-year cycle. Donors also are prohibited from giving money in the names of others.

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