Harris witness
makes bail on
theft charges

The elusive woman turns herself
in in an unrelated case

By Rick Daysog

A woman who has been subpoenaed by an Oahu grand jury investigating Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign said she feels "victimized" by her recent legal ordeal and looks forward to her day in court.

In a brief statement yesterday, Lisa Otsuka declined to answer questions about the Harris campaign.

Lisa Katherine Otsuka turned herself in at Honolulu Police Department headquarters yesterday and was released after posting bail of $50,000.

An Oahu grand jury indicted the 32-year-old former Miss Maui last month for allegedly stealing $3,000 last year from a fund-raiser for at-risk youths.

The theft charge, which is unrelated to the grand jury investigation into the Harris campaign, is one of several legal actions that she faces.

Police arrested the former Ewa resident on Sept. 9 for failing to appear at a grand jury hearing on the Harris campaign. That came after HPD officers arrested Otsuka on Aug. 15 on suspicion of promoting prostitution, money laundering and illegal ownership of a business. She was not charged for the Aug. 15 arrest.

Yesterday, Otsuka gave a brief statement to the media after being released on bail, but she did not answer questions about the Harris campaign or the mayor. She said her recent ordeal has been "harrowing" and has taken a physical toll on her, her family and her friends.

"Anytime anything like this happens, it's very hurtful and upsetting. And there are a lot of people that are just very upset by this ... and my heart just goes out to everybody who's ever victimized," Otsuka said.

"I'm also very grateful we live in America and we have the presumption of innocence and I will have the opportunity to go to court," she said.

Otsuka's attorney, Michael J. Green, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Harris has said that he does not know Otsuka. His attorney, William McCorriston, said that attempts to link Harris to Otsuka are part of a smear.

The prosecutor's office could not be reached for comment.

In its Sept. 24 indictment, the grand jury alleged that Otsuka took money from Manutahi, a Wahiawa nonprofit group that promotes Tahitian dance. Otsuka helped organize an April 1, 2001, fund-raiser at the Ocean Club, but prosecutors allege he she took the money raised.

The Star-Bulletin previously reported that prosecutors also are investigating more than $75,000 in payments made by the Harris campaign to one of its vendors, Campaign Service Inc.

Campaign Service is a local public relations and political research firm headed by Harry Mattson and Norma Wong, two longtime supporters of former Gov. John Waihee.

People familiar with the prosecutor's investigation said that some of the payments to Campaign Service wound up in Otsuka's accounts.

Mattson has declined comment, but his attorney recently issued a statement that Otsuka has no connections to Harris and that Mattson thought he was investing his own money with a reputable businesswoman at the time.

E-mail to City Desk


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