Posted tagged ‘Rod Tam’

Rod Tam sentencing delayed again

June 8, 2011

Former City Councilman Rod Tam’s sentencing on public corruption charges was delayed again after he was slapped with more public corruption charges.

Part-time District Judge Randal Shintani postponed Tam’s sentencing on 26 counts of overcharging the city for meals until Aug. 16 after Tam pleaded no contest to eight new state counts of violating campaign spending laws by misusing campaign funds and falsifying documents.

Tam’s sentencing has already been delayed several times since his guilty plea on the original charges in November.

As usual, Tam was less than contrite in admitting and accepting responsibility for his crimes. Nevertheless, he is asking the judge to defer acceptance of his pleas, which could allow him to walk away with no jail time and no permanent stain on his record. Previous corruption cases involving elected officials have almost always resulted in jail time.

The evidence is compelling that Tam used his city expense account and campaign fund as personal piggy banks, covering his tracks with phony receipts and, in at least one instance, an apparent outright forgery.

The city expense account case involves some $15,000 in overcharges for meals at Honolulu restaurants. The campaign spending case involves personal purchases at local stores using campaign money, unsubstantiated meal reimbursements and failure to report campaign contributions.

Tam could face up to 14 years in prison, but a sentence that stiff is highly unlikely.

For comparison, former Councilwoman Rene Mansho was sentenced to a year in jail in 2002 after pleading guilty to theft of $20,000 in city money and $300 from her campaign fund.

In a 2001 federal corruption case, former Councilman Andy Mirikitani was sentenced to four years and three months for taking some $6,000 in bonus kickbacks from staffers.

The return of the out-to-lunch councilman

June 23, 2010

Honolulu Councilman Rod Tam is fully back in the saddle three months after colleagues censured him for the second time in three years and stripped him of all committee assignments for ethics violations relating to $13,700 worth of falsified meal expenses he charged to the city.

In a reorganization announced by the council yesterday to reflect Lee Donohue’s replacement of Charles Djou in the East O’ahu seat, Tam was restored as chairman of the Planning Committee, named vice chair of the Boards and Commissions Committee and given seats on the budget and zoning committees.

It’s simply irresponsible for council leadership to give so much power to someone who has shown so little regard for taking care of taxpayers’ money. Chairman Todd Apo must be getting hard up for votes.

There are only six months left in Tam’s dismal term, and he should have been left to serve it sitting in the corner.

Rod Tam sees the light; Abercrombie hears the music

June 17, 2010

Councilman Rod Tam is pitching himself as “Lightning Rod” on his campaign signs in his run for mayor.

The American Heritage dictionary defines a lightning rod thusly: “One that attracts and absorbs powerful, typically negative feelings and reactions, thereby diverting interest from other issues.”

I guess it proves the old adage that if you give a monkey a typewriter, sooner or later he’ll say something that gets it right.

Another interesting campaign slogan is Mufi Hannemann’s “standing tall for all of us,” a not-so-veiled reference to the fact that he’s about a foot and a half taller than his Democratic rival Neil Abercrombie.

Actually, that almost qualifies as subtlety for Hannemann. How long can it be before he entertains campaign audiences with Randy Newman’s “Don’t Want No Short People ‘Round Here.”


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