2 businessmen get
10-day jail terms for
illegal political donations

Calling the decades-old practice of making illegal political contributions "a rotten system," a state judge ordered two local businessmen to spend 10 days in jail during the holiday season.

Circuit Judge Steven Alm also fined architect John Adversalo and building materials supplier Daniel Rosario $200 and ordered them to do 100 hours of community service.

Adversalo and Rosario previously pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of making political donations under false names to Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

Alm granted their request for a deferral, which gives Adversalo and Rosario the opportunity to have their criminal records wiped out if they stay out of trouble for a year.

Alm said he believes that illegal donations undermine the voting process, and added that he hopes the jail sentences will deter other professionals who might be thinking of violating the state's campaign spending laws.

"You didn't create this system ... but you knew it was wrong and you helped perpetuate this rotten system," Alm told Rosario.

This is only the second time in the three-year investigation into the Harris campaign that a donor was given jail time. Last year, Alm ordered local attorney Ed Chun to serve 10 days in jail for advising donors to make excessive contributions to the Harris campaign.

Chun has appealed the conviction with the state Supreme Court.

Renee Yuen, Adversalo's attorney, argued that her client was not deserving of jail time. She said Adversalo was charged with making $3,000 in false-name contributions, and only $500 of that amount came from his own pocket.

Yuen said the judicial system fails when someone like her client, who has taken responsibility for his actions, gets jail time when others who have pleaded no contest to making hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions avoid jail.

Rosario and Adversalo will begin their sentences Dec. 18.

Alm credited Rosario for serving two days of jail time and Adversalo for serving a day. Both were detained at Honolulu police headquarters during the prosecution's investigation into their illegal donations, and both were booked and processed by local sheriffs after they were indicted by a grand jury last year.

Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee argued against the granting of a deferral and said that probation would be a more appropriate sentence than jail time. A conviction could lead to a loss of the businessmen's licenses and could bar donors from getting any government contracts, Lee said.

"You would have a much longer-lasting effect if you were to give them a criminal conviction," Lee said.

Campaign Spending Commission


E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2004 Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- https://archives.starbulletin.com