Employee gets
deferral for donations

A state judge ordered a former employee of a local architecture firm to perform 60 hours of community service after she pleaded no contest to charges of making illegal political donations to former Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign.

Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura fined Leigh Anne Quan $2,000 yesterday but granted her a deferral, which allows her to have her criminal case dismissed if she stays out of trouble for a year.

Quan, 37, apologized to the court, saying the events surrounding her criminal case happened many years ago. Her attorney David Hayakawa said that Quan was a "peripheral player" in a massive political culture of campaign spending violations.

Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Puu opposed the deferral, saying Quan's actions undermined the electoral process.

An Oahu grand jury indicted Quan in December for making political donations under false names to the Harris campaign back in 2000.

Quan previously worked for Kober Hanssen Mitchell Architects. But people familiar with the criminal investigation said that prosecutors were looking at Quan's alleged ties to local engineer Gary Okamoto, whose downtown office was raided by Honolulu police in January.

Okamoto, president of Wilson Okamoto & Associates Inc., also was arrested on suspicion of making illegal political contributions to the Harris campaign. His wife, Lori Okamoto, pleaded no contest last year to misdemeanor charges.

In October 2003 the state Campaign Spending Commission fined Gary Okamoto $44,500 for funneling more than $65,000 to Harris, former Gov. Ben Cayetano and ex-Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono.

Campaign Spending Commission

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