Cops arrest 6 residents
in probe of Harris funds

City prosecutors have stepped up their investigation into Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign with the arrest of six local residents during the past several days.

Honolulu police arrested Kendall Hee, the 42-year-old president of Engineers Surveyors Hawaii Inc., yesterday on suspicion of money laundering and making a political contribution under a false name.

HPD also booked Hee's sister, Deanne Grathwohl, 39, and her 40-year-old husband, Dean, on suspicion of money laundering and making a false-name campaign donation.

Yesterday's arrests came after police booked Kenneth Sakai, a 59-year-old engineer with R.M. Towill Corp., Saturday on suspicion of money laundering and making excessive campaign contributions. Police arrested Hai Shi and Jackie Wong Shi, both 33, on similar grounds Sunday.

All six were not charged and were released pending investigation.

Hee and the Grathwohls could not be reached for immediate comment. Prosecutors also had no comment.

According to state Campaign Spending Commission records, Hee, the Grathwohls and other relatives have given nearly $38,000 to the Harris campaign since 1997.

Under state law a donor can give no more than $4,000 to a mayoral candidate during a four-year election cycle. Contributors also cannot make political donations under false names.

Sakai is the third R.M. Towill employee arrested in the prosecutor's probe into the Harris campaign. Company Vice President Roy Tsutsui and Nancy Matsuno, R.M. Towill's comptroller, were booked on similar charges during the past three weeks.

An attorney for R.M. Towill had no comment.

R.M. Towill is one of the city's largest outside consultants and is one of the state's largest engineering firms. The company has received more than $17 million in nonbid city contracts since 1996.

A Star-Bulletin investigation found that R.M. Towill employees and their relatives made more than $42,000 in campaign contributions to the Harris campaign during the past 10 years.

Campaign spending records show that Sakai and his wife contributed $8,000 to the Harris campaign from 1998 to 2000.

Hai and Jackie Wong Shi, meanwhile, are part of a cluster of contributors allegedly linked to city contractor NTW Associates Inc., according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Earlier this month, Honolulu police arrested NTW employee Linton Lee and his brothers Lambert and Lester on suspicion of money laundering and making false-name contributions.

Since 2000 the Harris administration has awarded NTW more than $300,000 in nonbid consulting work, city records show.


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --