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Editorial | Island Voices

Mitsunaga & Associates operates fairly, legally

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A front-page news story correctly states that "while (Marvin) Wong may advise Abercrombie on state construction projects, neither he nor the governor have roles in choosing contractors" ("Governor’s aide tied to big donor," Star-Advertiser, March 13). However, the article still leaves the impression that the donations made by Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc. (MAI) to the governor’s campaign and inaugural dinner will somehow be influential in securing state non-bid contracts. This impression cannot be farther from the truth or farther from the law.

In 2003, an amendment to the state procurement law was passed by the state Legislature to take the selection process for non-bid contracts out of the hands of the governor’s politically appointed directors.

Hawaii Revised Statute §103D-304(d)(e)(f)(g)(h) requires that an impartial selection committee evaluate and rank a minimum of three persons or firms, and that the director then be required to negotiate a contract with the first-ranked person or firm.

It was because of this amendment that MAI was able to secure more than $22 million in non-bid contracts from the Lingle administration, far more than we ever received from the Cayetano and Harris administration combined, although we made no contributions to Linda Lingle.

People like Kory Payne of Voter-Owned Hawaii, who was quoted in your news article, should be more informed and more responsible before attempting to publicly impugn the reputations of Mr. Wong and MAI.

The article also mentioned MAI’s wholly owned subsidiary, MM International, LLC (MMI) and its work in South Korea. MMI is one of three Select Forces Agreement firms tasked to do the design work to relocate and consolidate the U.S. bases there. MMI was impartially selected through a nationwide competition. The total construction budget for this mission is well over $15 billion, three times more than Honolulu’s rail project.

Dennis Mitsunaga is president of Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc.

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