Updated at 12:07 p.m., Thursday, December 14, 2006
Contractors in airport bid scandal sentenced
Advertiser StaffTwo contractors who admitted their part in the state airport bid-rigging scandal avoided jail time when they appeared in state court for sentencing yesterday and four more will be sentenced later this month.
Roy Shimotsukasa, 68, and Herbert Hirota, 54, each testified as prosecution witnesses in September in the federal criminal trial of four men, including two state officials, who were described by prosecutors as central players in the multi-million "pay-to-play" contracting scam.
In return for their cooperation and agreements to pay substantial fines, Shimotsukasa and Hirota sought to enter what are called deferred guilty pleas in which the criminal charges would be erased if the defendants avoided further trouble with the law.
Circuit Judge Richard Perkins allowed Hirota, a painting contractor, to enter the deferred plea, but denied the request from Shimostsukasa, owner of a pest control company, because he had a 1958 felony conviction for burglary.
Hirota was sentenced to five years probation and payment of a $25,000 fine at the rate of $2,000 per month.
Shimotsukasa has already paid a $75,000 fine and will also serve five years of probation. Both men must also perform 100 hours of community service.
"The case goes to the heart of good government in Hawai'i," Dep. Atty. Gen. Christopher Young said.
"It shows how seriously the Attorney General takes cases where there are allegations of fraud and misappropriation of money."
Young said four other contractors who cooperated with the government will be sentenced later this month.