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Friday, June 30, 2000

City & County of Honolulu

complaints don’t
stick to Mirikitani

However, the councilman's
adherence to harassment policies
is 'reckless,' the investigating
committee finds

By Gordon Pang


An investigating committee convened by the city's Equal Employment Opportunity Office has found Councilman Andy Mirikitani was not in violation of the city's sexual and racial harassment policies, sources said.

Complaints were filed last December by two fired members of Mirikitani's staff who alleged the councilman created a hostile work environment that included racially and sexually disparaging remarks.

Sources who have seen the committee's report said that the report did not sustain the charges in the complaints.

However, the committee found that Mirikitani's "adherence to sexual harassment policies could best be characterized as reckless," a source said.

According to the charges, Mirikitani referred to one of the men as "a fat little rice ball" and the other as looking like a Jewish concentration camp survivor.

The office of Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura was set to release the report this morning but reconsidered on the advice of city attorneys after the staffers who filed the complaint -- Jonn Serikawa and Scott Lasater -- indicated they did not want it made public.

Keith Kaneshiro, attorney for the two complainants, was out of town and could not be reached for comment. Mirikitani said yesterday he had not seen the report.

Mirikitani has previously denied the allegations and said he had proper justification for firing the two men.

Mirikitani is also the subject of a federal investigation involving allegations of kickbacks from his employees. A federal grand jury heard charges that Mirikitani used funds left over in his staff salary account to give $26,000 in bonuses to two employees and then asked for a portion of the money back.

Serikawa was one of the two employees who testified before the grand jury in connection with the alleged kickback scheme.

The other employee who testified, Cindy McMillan, resigned at the end of 1999.

There have been no indictments handed down in connection with that investigation.

Mirikitani has stated that the bonuses he gave were rewards for hard work by the two employees.

Mirikitani, an attorney, has been on the Council since 1990. He represents the 5th District, which includes Manoa, Makiki, McCully-Moiliili and Ala Moana.

City & County of Honolulu

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