GUAM LEADER PLEADS GUILTY IN ILLEGAL CONTRACT

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, April 3) - A former
Republican senator and gubernatorial candidate faces up to three years in prison
after pleading guilty to entering into an illegal contract with the government
of Guam and then trying to cover it up.

Thomas "Tommy" Tanaka, 62, pleaded guilty to
misprision of a felony, according to Joseph F. Wilson, the U.S. Attorney's
Office criminal chief.

Tanaka, who at the time of the crime was the president and chief
executive officer of Affordable Home Builders Inc., also called Guam Concrete
Builders, entered into a contract with GovGuam to build bus shelters, according
to the plea agreement. But Tanaka received the contract only after he promised a
government official that he would support a 1998 political campaign.

The agreement did not state which campaign Tanaka supported in
exchange for the contract, which involved Federal Emergency Management Agency
funds. Tanaka ran a full-page ad in the Pacific Daily News in 1997, urging his
supporters to vote for former Democratic Gov. Carl Gutierrez and Lt. Gov.
Madeleine Bordallo, whom Tanaka ran against and lost to in 1994, according to
PDN files. Critics have said he ran the ad in exchange for political favors,
including the bus shelter contract.

Gutierrez was governor at the time Tanaka's contract was
approved, and was running for re-election in 1998, files state.

"Misprision has essentially three components, and that is
that a person have actual knowledge a crime was committed, and that they do an
act to conceal the commission of that crime, and they don't report it,"
Wilson said.

"So having knowledge that a crime was committed and failing
to report it isn't enough -- there has to be an act of concealment for it to be
a crime."

As part of the plea agreement, the government agreed not to
prosecute Tanaka's son Stephen.

When contacted at his Merchant Billing Services office to
comment on his plea agreement, Tanaka yesterday said: "No, no thank you.
I'm not talking."

The Pacific Daily News contacted Gutierrez at his Agana Heights
home via telephone. He placed the reporter on hold, telling the reporter he had
a call on another line.

But the call was later disconnected and numerous subsequent
calls to the former governor's home were not answered. Attempts to contact
Gutierrez on his cellular phone were also unsuccessful.

Three government officials were involved in awarding the
contract to Tanaka, the plea agreement said. The names of those GovGuam
officials could not be released, Wilson said yesterday. He also could not
confirm or deny if any of the government officials was Gutierrez.

Before Supertyphoon Paka struck the island in December 1997,
Tanaka spoke to government official "A" about a contract to fabricate
pre-cast concrete panels for bus shelters. He was told that there were no funds
for the contract.

He then approached and told government official "B" he
would support that official politically in 1998, according to the plea
agreement.

Tanaka placed an ad in the Pacific Daily News on Dec. 4, 1997,
PDN files show. In the ad, Tanaka states: "Carl and Madeleine have us on
the right path. ... They are the best team running for governor and lieutenant
governor and I believe they should be given another four years to complete their
paths."

After that public endorsement, government official "B"
informed Tanaka that GovGuam would undertake the bus shelter project, the
agreement said.

After Paka struck Guam in mid-December 1997, government official
"B" called Tanaka and told him the $1.9 million contract to build the
shelters could be awarded to the defendant, the plea agreement said.

But government official "C" told Tanaka that FEMA
officials had raised questions about the award of the contract and that two more
bids were needed.

Tanaka knew falsely dated proposals from contractors were
submitted in order to give the appearance to FEMA that the contract given to him
was awarded through a competitive bidding process. The defendant then gave the
FBI false statements when he was interviewed, the agreement said.

April 3, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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