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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, September 20, 2001

'Ewa Villages accomplice ordered to pay city $68,000

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

An O'ahu woman accused of helping former city housing official Michael Kahapea bilk the city out of millions of dollars as part of the 'Ewa Villages relocation scandal was placed on five years probation yesterday and ordered to repay the city nearly $68,000.

City Deputy Prosecutor Randal Lee maintained that approximately $850,000 in city money was funneled through Donna Hashimoto-Abelaye's company, Specialty Pacific Builders, for work on the 'Ewa Villages project that was never performed.

Prosecutors believe that most of the money was returned to Kahapea, through his late brother-in-law Russell Williams, in the form of kickbacks and that Hashimoto-Abelaye was allowed to keep at least $67,945 for participating in the scheme.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins yesterday denied Hashimoto-Abelaye's earlier request to defer acceptance of a guilty plea, and convicted her on charges of first-degree theft, money laundering and filing false state income tax returns.

In addition to probation and restitution, Perkins also sentenced Hashimoto-Abelaye to perform 400 hours of community service.

Kahapea is serving a 50-year sentence after being found guilty last year of stealing more than $5 million by grossly inflating costs to move businesses displaced by the 'Ewa Villages project, and giving city contracts to friends and relatives for moving jobs that were never done in exchange for huge kickbacks.