Condition Investigation: Hawaii Expenditure Company CEO Falsified Marketing campaign Donations

The CEO of a serious estate expenditure group illegally reimbursed personnel for campaign donations built to Honolulu mayoral candidates in 2020, a state investigation alleges.

Due to the fact Oct 2020, personnel at the Campaign Expending Commission have been investigating political contributions from JL Money staff and the company’s CEO Timothy Lee. A commission report signed by Govt Director Kristine Izumi-Nitao alleges that Lee used four of his workers to funnel $4,000 to Keith Amemiya’s marketing campaign for mayor and $8,000 to Kym Pine’s marketing campaign for the exact race.

The team report alleges that Lee reimbursed individuals staff members with checks or dollars.

JL Capital took over progress of the 400-foot condominium Sky Ala Moana job from the Avalon Group in 2019. When it was 1st proposed, the growth required exemptions from the Town Council.

The CEO of a genuine estate growth team making the Sky Ala Moana towers designed unlawful marketing campaign contributions, a condition investigation alleges. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2022

The commission has levied eight counts of phony identify contributions against Lee and was set to vote Wednesday on how to commence with the investigation but determined to place off a hearing on the investigation until eventually April.

Lawyer David Minkin, who is symbolizing Lee, requested for a continuance simply because he experienced a courtroom listening to to attend at the similar time as the commission’s hearing.

Minkin did not return a message remaining with his office.

The fee could dismiss the charges, talk to for further more investigation, or ahead a report to the state Attorney General’s Place of work for probable legal prosecution.

Falsifying marketing campaign donations is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

In a assertion, Amemiya’s marketing campaign explained that its staff members complied with the investigation.

“We had been unaware that any person was staying reimbursed for their donation by Mr. Lee,” the assertion said.

Pine did not return a concept trying to get comment.

Gary Kam, the commission’s common counsel, mentioned the Amemiya and Pine campaigns are not beneath investigation. Kam claimed he did not discover any proof to clearly show that possibly candidate realized their strategies recognized falsified contributions.

In March 2020, 4 JL Cash Workforce — Chan Hee Yi, Michael Vachio, Norman Chan and Sydney Jung — each and every wrote checks for $1,000 to Amemiya’s campaign. A thirty day period afterwards, the four workers also donated a full $8,000 to Pine’s marketing campaign.

Lee wrote checks to Yi, Vachio and Jung equivalent to the amount of money of the donations they produced, financial institution information received by the fee present.

A written statement from Chan hooked up to the commission’s investigation says that he obtained $3,000 in cash in an envelope from Lee. That is equal to the total of funds Chan donated to the two campaigns. The report alleges that the dollars served as a reimbursement for Chan’s donations.

Minkin denied that was the case in a letter to the fee before this thirty day period. Lee fired Chan in June 2020.

“Because the termination happened in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Lee was anxious for Mr. Chan and furnished him a smaller sum of money to assist with his transitionary time period to diverse work,” Minkin wrote.

In accordance to Chan’s statement, Lee approached workforce and asked them to make donations to Amemiya and Pine.

“Tim approached the entire JL team in the workplace. With the help of his executive assistant, Chan Hee Yi, checks have been collected from the full staff members,” Chan’s assertion stated. “Tim strategized the amount of money of each and every check. Individuals employees who had bigger salaries should really write more substantial contributions vs. people that did not.”

A further worker told Chan that Lee had beforehand bundled personnel checks, but did not specify for which applicant.

JL Funds workforce donated at the very least $53,000 to strategies considering the fact that 2017. Most of those donations arrived in the previous two many years and had been concentrated about candidates for city workplaces.

Lee built the most donations of any personnel, contributing $22,000 to neighborhood campaigns. Recipients of his immediate donations involve Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, previous mayor Kirk Caldwell, Sen. Stanley Chang, Rep. Sylvia Luke, previous Honolulu City Councilman Ron Menor, and Town Council Chair Tommy Waters.

Lee did not make any immediate contributions to strategies for Amemiya and Pine and only maxed out his contributions to Waters.