Saturday, November 17, 2001

5 donors to Harris
campaign agree to
pay fines for
donating too much

A sixth has decided to fight a
decision that most of his donations
were over the limit

By Bruce Dunford
Associated Press

Five companies and individuals who made over-the-limit contributions to Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' 2000 re-election campaign face fines from the state Campaign Spending Commission.

The five have reached conciliation agreements with the commission's staff which will be up for approval when the commission meets Wednesday, according to the meeting's agenda posted yesterday.

Commission Executive Director Bob Watada said that besides the fines, which would range between $500 and $750, the Harris campaign will be asked to turn the excess contributions over to the Hawaii Election Campaign.

The excess contributions, which are in the $1,000 range, are not considered serious and mostly were oversights on the part of the contributors, Watada said.

Those reaching conciliation agreements are AES Design Group, Hawaii Design Associates, A.J. Construction, Community Planning and John Farias Jr.

Watada said the commission is continuing investigations into other questionable contributions to the Harris campaign.

Meanwhile, Watada said Waikiki restaurants owner Alan Ho, a member of the Honolulu Police Commission, has pulled back from an earlier offer to resolve alleged excessive contributions to the Harris campaign.

A reconciliation agreement with Ho had been scheduled for approval on Wednesday.

Watada said Ho's attorney notified the commission that Ho will contest the commission staff's determination that most of $15,500 in donations by Ho and his restaurants was over the limit.

Harris campaign attorney, Ronald Amemiya, told the commission earlier that Ho believed that he and the restaurants could each give the maximum $4,000 contribution.

Ho earlier had asked the Harris campaign to return $12,000, which Ho said would go to charity.

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