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Tam calls inquiry ‘speculation’

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City Councilman and mayoral candidate Rod Tam labeled as "speculation" an investigation of his using city funds to pay for more than $22,000 in meals unrelated to his work as a Council member.

Tam declined comment on further aspects of the inquiry, including whether he thought the allegations would hurt his campaign.

"Investigations are basically speculations and everybody goes through that," Tam told reporters yesterday at City Hall. "It’s all based on speculation."

Honolulu police confirmed this week that the department was investigating possible criminal charges involving Tam’s use of Council funds.

The investigation stems from a city Ethics Commission advisory opinion saying Tam improperly used his Council contingency fund for "hundreds" of meals for family members and constituents.

Tam, whom the Council censured in March, agreed to pay $11,700 in restitution and a $2,000 civil fine but admitted no wrongdoing. He acknowledged poor record-keeping and faulty math, and argued that rules covering discretionary expenses need clarification.

The Ethics Commission turned over its findings to the state attorney general’s office to review and determine whether to file criminal charges.

The attorney general’s office has not commented on the matter.

Council Chairman Todd Apo confirmed that police had contacted him and other members to discuss, in general terms, how Council members are trained to use their contingency funds, which are allotted to each member for expenses, work-related travel and other Council activities.


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