Woman fined $100
for illegal political gift

The bank employee donated
the money to Harris' campaign

A state judge has fined a Kaneohe woman $100 after she pleaded no contest to a charge that she made a political donation under a false name to Mayor Jeremy Harris.

During the arraignment yesterday, District Judge David Lo also granted Leona Nishimura the opportunity to have her criminal case dismissed if she stays out of trouble.

Nishimura is an employee of First Hawaiian Bank, but city prosecutors said they believe she gave money to the Harris campaign on behalf of the local engineering firm of Wilson Okamoto & Associates Inc.

People familiar with the investigations by the prosecutor's office and the state Campaign Spending Commission said that Nishimura is a friend of the wife of Wilson Okamoto's president, Gary Okamoto.

According to state campaign spending records, Nishimura gave the Harris campaign $1,000 in December 1999 and another $1,000 in September 2000.

Other donors linked to the Wilson Okamoto firm have given $27,500 to the Harris campaign since 1996, state campaign records show.

Under state law, an individual or business can give no more than $4,000 to a mayoral candidate during a four-year election cycle. Donors also are barred from giving money under false names.

According to city records, the Wilson Okamoto firm has received more than $17 million in nonbid design and consulting work from the city since 1994.

During the past several months, several top executives of city contracting firms -- including SSFM International Inc.'s Michael Matsumoto and Alden Kajioka, of Controlpoint Surveying Inc. -- have pleaded no contest to similar campaign spending violations.


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