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Tuesday, January 16, 2001

City & County of Honolulu

Mansho email hints
of hush deal with aide

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

An email message from City Councilwoman Rene Mansho raises further questions about the role city attorneys played in an investigation by the Campaign Spending Commission.

The message is part of a package of evidence sent to the state attorney general's office for further investigation by the commission, according to sources.

The message from Mansho to her staff, dated Oct. 5, that the Star-Bulletin has obtained, states: "I got a call from corporation counsel and he said that (Mansho staffer) Michelle (Kidani) will not be testifying on Friday at the Campaign Spending Commission."

The commission is investigating allegations that Mansho used campaign funds improperly.

The memo goes on to say that Kidani is "willing to sign a statement clearing my good name.

"And she will stop bad-mouthing me to everybody she meets. Keep your fingers crossed."

Two weeks after the email message, on Oct. 19, Deputy Corporation Counsel Paul Tsukiyama wrote a letter to Kidani's attorney offering a $14,000 settlement.

Among the conditions for the settlement was a written "retraction" of "claims alleged against Ms. Mansho including, but not limited to allegations of campaign spending violations, improper campaign activities on city time and/or premises, retaliation/whistleblower violation, and gender discrimination."

Tsukiyama and Corporation Counsel David Arakawa said the Oct. 19 letter was not an attempt to keep Kidani from testifying in exchange for the settlement. Rather, city attorneys were seeking to get more information about possible claims against Mansho, Arakawa said.

City attorneys last month also told the Star-Bulletin they had no knowledge that Kidani would be testifying, which appears to contradict what Mansho wrote in her email.

Arakawa pointed out, however, that Kidani eventually testified before the commission.

Arakawa and Mansho had no comment about the Oct. 5 email.

Kidani has been on sick leave since the summer and has hired an attorney to pursue a possible claim against the city.

Bob Watada, executive director of the commission, has refused to discuss specifics about the Mansho case but has pointed out that he believes witnesses have been discouraged from testifying.

State attorneys declined to comment.

City & County of Honolulu

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