Wednesday, July 11, 2001

City & County of Honolulu

Mirikitani returns to
seat on council

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

Andy Mirikitani returned to his City Council seat today for the first time since his July 3 conviction for receiving kickbacks from two employees in exchange for bonuses.

At the first council meeting since the conviction, Mirikitani took his seat and answered "present" during roll call late this morning. He did not answer questions from the media before the meeting.

Mirikitani refused to resign from his 5th District seat despite calls from colleagues to do so after a federal jury found him guilty of one count each of bribery, theft, extortion and wire fraud and two counts of witness tampering.

State law allows Mirikitani to stay in office until his sentencing, set for Dec. 4. The councilman's lawyer, John Edmunds, has said he is considering several avenues of appeal.

According to prosecutors, Mirikitani gave bonuses totaling $26,533.45 to aides Cindy McMillan and Jonn Serikawa in exchange for $6,884 in kickbacks. Mirikitani said the charges were the result of disgruntled ex-employees.

Four of Mirikitani's eight Council colleagues -- Duke Bainum, John DeSoto, Steve Holmes and Jon Yoshimura -- have called for his resignation, while the other four have declined to do so.

Mirikitani, who represents the Manoa, Makiki, McCully-Moiliili and Ala Moana neighborhoods, issued a statement on Monday saying that he "will continue to serve my constituents." While choosing to remain on the Council, Mirikitani said he will step down as chairman of the Cultural Affairs Committee and surrender his right to vote on three remaining committees.

City & County of Honolulu

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