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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, October 19, 2001

Ex-officer pleads no contest in cellblock food case

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

One of three current or former Honolulu police officers accused of diverting food that was to be used to feed prisoners in the cellblock at police headquarters pleaded no contest to a charge of second-degree theft yesterday.

John M. Spondike, 52, was a contract food services worker for the Honolulu Police Department when he participated in an alleged scandal in which police officials used public money to purchase high-quality food for themselves and other officers.

Spondike is asking the Circuit Court to defer accepting his plea, which would pave the way for a dismissal of the case if he abides by conditions similar to probation. A hearing on his request is set for late January.

Spondike was a Honolulu police officer from 1968 to 1994. He was last a detective in internal affairs.

Prosecutors said Spondike is cooperating with investigators and has agreed to testify against others if the matter goes to trial.

Two high-ranking HPD officers have also been charged with second-degree theft in the case, Assistant Police Chief Rafael Fajardo Jr., 59, and Maj. Jeffrey Owens, 50. Both pleaded not guilty to the charges in August. A second-degree theft charge is based on an allegation that the value of the goods improperly taken exceeds $300.

Investigators have not yet placed a figure on the amount of money they believe was allegedly diverted from the program to buy pre-made meals for prisoners.

The misuse of money allegedly took place between 1995 and 2000, when Fajardo, and then Owens, oversaw the department's central receiving division.

After he retired from HPD, Spondike was hired as a contract worker at the receiving desk from September 1995 until June 1998. He is not currently under contract with the department.

Fajardo and Owens remain on duty, but have been relieved of their police powers and command responsibilities.

Reach David Waite at dwaite@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8030.