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Tam is hit with new charges


When former City Councilman Rod Tam shows up for sentencing today on charges of stealing money from the city, he must also decide whether to contest new charges that he violated state campaign spending laws.

The state attorney general’s office filed eight new misdemeanor charges of campaign spending violations against Tam on Monday.

He is accused of using some of his campaign funds for personal use from February 2008 to January 2009.

The criminal complaint alleges that Tam filed a false report claiming that he had a meal with a volunteer at a Waimalu restaurant.

Tam had reported spending $87.77, including a $5 tip, and submitted a receipt stub that the restaurant manager said was not from the establishment, according to a Campaign Spending Commission report.

He is also charged with failing to report two campaign contributions until "well past the reporting deadline," according to the attorney general’s office.

Each misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail.

Tam is scheduled to plead to the new charges at the same time he is to appear today before part-time District Judge Randal Shintani for the sentencing hearing.

Tam pleaded guilty in November to 26 misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor charges of theft and falsifying documents related to overcharging the city $8 to $267 for meals at Honolulu restaurants from 2007 to 2009.

Tam’s misdemeanor charges each carry up to a year in jail. His petty misdemeanor charges are each punishable by up to 30 days in jail.

The former councilman has requested that the judge hold off accepting his guilty pleas to those charges, which would pave the way for the dismissal of the case if he abides by conditions similar to probation.

Deputy Attorney General Lori Wada said Monday she will oppose the request and is considering recommending a jail term and community service.

Tam and his lawyer, Nelson Goo, could not be reached for comment.

Tam, who spent 32 years in elective office as a member of a neighborhood board, the state Legislature and the City Council, was an unsuccessful candidate for mayor last year.

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