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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, September 26, 2002

Couple arrested in airport probe

Advertiser Staff

A husband and wife were arrested yesterday in the continuing state investigation of an alleged kickback scheme tied to state airport contracts, Attorney General Earl Anzai said.

Arrested on suspicion of theft, conspiracy and forgery were Michael and Frances Furukawa, owners of three contracting firms: MF Masonry, Argent Construction and Kenlee Limited Liability Co.

They were released without charges, the same procedure followed for other suspects taken into custody by Anzai's office in the past three months. One of the men arrested earlier in the case, Richard Okada, head of the state Transportation Department's visitor information program, is Michael Furukawa's cousin, Anzai said yesterday.

Furukawa, when contacted by The Advertiser in June, would not comment on his companies' airport contracts.

Okada also would not comment.

Furukawa's companies have received numerous small construction contracts — worth less than $25,000 each — awarded by the airports division of the Transportation Department, The Advertiser reported.

Gothic Construction, another firm Furukawa owns jointly with another man, Wesley Uemura, has also received numerous contracts. Uemura has not been arrested and has been unavailable for comment.

Anzai said yesterday bank and investment accounts controlled by the Furukawas have been frozen because they "are believed to contain funds" from the airport contracts under investigation.