Engineering firm
fined in Harris probe

The company is led
by an ex-state official
arrested last week

The Campaign Spending Commission approved a $53,000 fine yesterday against a company headed by a former state housing official who was arrested last week on suspicion of making illegal contributions to Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

The commission voted 3-0 to fine the Hilo-based engineering firm of Wesley Segawa & Associates Inc. and company President Wesley Segawa for funneling more than $26,000 in campaign contributions to Harris.

The civil penalty is the commission's second largest behind a $64,000 fine for the engineering firm of Geolabs Inc. in January 2002.

"In this case, there were a number of false-name contributions passed by Wesley Segawa to family, friends and employees who then gave the money to candidates," said Bob Watada, the commission's executive director.

Segawa could not be reached for response, and his attorney declined comment.

Honolulu police arrested Segawa last week on suspicion of money laundering and making a campaign donation under a false name.

Segawa, who has not been charged by the HPD, is the former head of the state Housing and Community Development Corp. of Hawaii, which oversees the state's public housing program.

He resigned from the state post after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development criticized the state agency for awarding an $800,000 nonbid contract to a company headed by the ex-husband of the state agency's director.

According to the Campaign Spending Commission, Segawa's firm funneled more than $80,000 to several prominent Democrats through dozens of employees, relatives and friends from 1996 to 2002.

Besides Harris, Segawa and his network contributed more than $21,000 to former Gov. Ben Cayetano and more than $14,000 to ex-Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono. Former Maui Mayor James "Kimo" Apana received $12,000 from people linked to the Segawa firm.

Under state law an individual or business can give no more than $4,000 to a mayoral candidate during a four-year election cycle. For races for governor and lieutenant governor, the limit is $6,000. Donors also are barred from making donations under a false name.

During the past two years, the commission has issued about $400,000 in fines to more than five dozen local companies for making excessive donations to the Harris campaign.

In a related matter, the commission voted 3-0 to approve a $6,500 fine against GYA Architects Inc., of Maui, for making excessive campaign contributions and reimbursing employees for donations to Harris, Cayetano and Hirono.


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 --