Some Honolulu City Council members shrugged at the news that their chairman, Nestor Garcia, is making $60,000 in a part-time job as executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce. Others said he slipped up, and should have disclosed the gig sooner.

With all the focus on Garcia, Civil Beat decided to ask the other City Council members about their disclosures.

Civil Beat examined City Council members’ most recent financial disclosures, filed in early 2011 to detail the year before. We also asked whether there is anything not on the forms they’d like to disclose now.

Here they are in their own words:


Council Members:

Read a related story about the council members’s views on the Garcia controversy.

Tom Berg, District 1

City Council member Tom Berg was elected in a special election in December 2010 to represent Ewa, Ewa Beach, Honouliuli, West Loch, Kapolei, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale and Nanakai Gardens, Ko’Olina, Nanakuli, Wai’anae, Makaha, Keaau and Makua. He is chairman of the Parks and Human Services Committee, and vice chair of the Planning Committee.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “I don’t think it’s fair, after winning an election, to then take on a job. Prior to an election when you’re already employed by a certain entity, the people will know that. Did they know in the election process about Chair Garcia (working with the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce)? My understanding is that he took that job after the fact. I think all the council members here are very diligent in providing that they have a conflict. He should be doing the same in this role.

“But the Chamber of Commerce, the way I look at it, it’s really to help businesses. I actually applaud that. If it were a contractor on the rail, or something of that nature, I’d say, ‘OK, we’ve got a problem here.’ But guess what? Everything under the sun that we’re doing here is to help out businesses in Kapolei.”

Additional Sources of Income: “When it comes to government, I have absolutely no outside employment. In the 11 years I worked at the state Capitol, I — for a brief time, on weekends — was someone who made iced tea and cookies and helped out a developer so I could tell them and share with them what the Ewa Plain could offer if they bought a home. I did that for about three months. It was Gentry Homes. That’s when I worked for Sen. (Will) Espero. It was maybe four years ago, and for three months.

“I’m a volunteer for 10 years. I’ve been the Ewa director on the board of directors for the Oahu Resource Conservation Council Inc. We advance those in the agriculture industry, in the livestock industry, to provide for them grant moneys. So we are a liaison so to speak, with the USDA. I’m a volunteer. I don’t get paid. I want to advance the ag industry, but there’s no pay-off to Tom. I can’t wear the hat, I can’t write on the stationery. We just get to act for the industry on that level.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “If offered outside employment, I would put the course of action before the council. I would think visionary and I would say, ‘I don’t want anyone to hire me being in the position that it could influence.’ I would look out for my own interest as well as the voters and the people I represent. I wouldn’t place them in that position.

“During my employment, being on the council, I would object and decline to a job as executive director of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce. If it was someone who said, ‘Can you plant tomatoes up on the hills of Kunia?’ I’d take that job on the weekends.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Tom Berg State House of Representatives Administrative Manager 2010 $50,000 – $99,999

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Annual Compensation
Ewa Director Tom Berg Oahu Resource and Conservation Development Council None

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Ernie Martin, District 2

City Council member Ernie Martin was elected in November 2010. Before that, he was deputy director of the Honolulu Department of Community Services. Martin is the City Council’s Budget Committee chairman, and vice chair of the Transportation and Transit Planning Committee.

He represents Mililani Mauka, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Waimea, Pupukea, Sunset Beach, Kahuku, Laie, Hauula, Punaluu, Kahana, Kaaawa, Kualoa, Waiahole, Waikane, Kahaluu, Ahuimanu, and a portion of Heeia.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “From what I know, I don’t see a conflict for the chairman. Just having to work with the chairman — not only as part of the City Council, but when I was on the executive branch — he’s always been a straightforward type of person, not a person to hide anything.

“From what I’ve read, I don’t see the conflict. I don’t think there’s any reason for him to have to divest himself of that position. If I were to be offered any position, irrespective of if it were the Kapolei Chamber or any other entity, for me, because I have confidence in Chuck Totto, executive director of Ethics Commission, I would actually discuss it with him first. Even if he thought it was appropriate, I would err on the side of cautiousness — and Nestor has taken this approach — to disclose it.”

Additional Sources of Income: “I’m an attorney but not even that, really. The council takes up all of my time.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “It’s always been my position that I don’t seek out clients that do any business with the city, so there’d be no question. I do discuss it from the very inception if they’re contemplating doing any business with the city. Although they can, it’s just that I just couldn’t represent them.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service Rendered When Annual Income
Self City and County Dep. Director of Community Services 2010 $100,000 – $149,999
Self Self Attorney at law 2010 $1,000 – $9,999
Spouse State of Hawaii DBE Coordinator 2010 $50,000 – $99,999
Spouse Self Personal Trainer 2010 Less than $1,000

2010 Business Interests, Disclosed January 2011

Owner Business Name Nature of Business Interest Value of Interest
Self Ernest Y. Martin, Attorney at Law Legal Services 100 % $1,000 – $9,999
Spouse Melanie M. Martin, Personal Trainer Personal Training Services 100 % $1,000 – $9,999

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Director Spouse Hawaii Construction Career Days Annual Less than $1,000

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Ikaika Anderson, District 3

Council member Ikaika Anderson has represented Waimanalo, Kailua and most of Kaneohe on the Honolulu City Council since 2009. He is chairman of the Zoning Committee, and vice chair of the Parks and Human Services Committee.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “I think that that’s an issue that the voters of District 9 who put him in office need to determine. I don’t think whether or not that job is a conflict of interest is in the realm of the City Council. The council chairman is our colleague. I don’t think any of us should be judging one another. If something was grossly wrong or caused the city harm, such as stealing from the city, I could see saying something.”

Additional Sources of Income: “I am a part-time real estate agent but that job has cost me, to date, a few thousand dollars, and I’ve made nothing doing it. I just haven’t had the time to put into it that I need to put into to turn a profit. I got my license in June of last year, and that is on file with my Ethics Commission disclosure forms.

“My family also owns a floral business, I disclosed that as well, as a board member of our family’s business. Whitney Incorporated is the parent (company) of the floral business. I have disclosed a conflict of interest (about related legislation). My family’s floral business is located right across the street, and the expansion of Hawaiian Memorial Park will likely affect our business. So, if the cemetery expands, you could argue that would increase our business. We also do have a standing contract with Hawaiian Memorial Park, where we sell our flowers within our park. As a board member, I can vote on that matter.

“My grandfather and I had a consulting business. If the opportunity arose again to get back into that, yeah, I would be willing to help him. He did some work with Ameron, trying to prevent the landfill… If I had any question (about it for the Ethics Commission), I would certainly seek the help.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “With the Hawaiian Memorial Park thing, to me that was just obvious. But the thing with my uncle’s hotel that he’s building: Although, I’m not obligated to file anything, I was wrestling with whether or not I should disclose it and finally, on Feb. 28 — and I remember the date because I have the document here in front of me — I thought, you know what, I am going to go ahead and disclose it. (Anderson’s uncle, D.G. “Andy” Anderson, is proposing a controversial boutique hotel on the North Shore.)

The North Shore Sustainable Communities plan doesn’t specifically mention my uncle or his proposal per se, and I don’t even believe it mentions the parcel of land that he’s interested in. The other thing is the document is merely advisory. I was thinking, well does this really have a lot to do with my uncle’s plan? Not really. But the fact of the matter is Andy Anderson is my uncle. A lot of people know that, some don’t. Even though I have no stake in it, i should at least put it out there.

Although I am not financially involved, I need to at least put on the record that we are related. He has these plans and he is my uncle, by blood.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Self City and County Council member 2009 – Present $50,000 – $99,999
Spouse Haliipua Flowers Floral Designer 2010 – Present Less than $1,000

2010 Business Interests, Disclosed January 2011

Owner Business Name Nature of Business Interest Value of Interest
Ikaika Anderson Haliipua Flowers Retail floral 10 % $1,000 – $9,999
Ikaika Anderson Local Boy Consultant LLC Consulting/Contract 25 % NA
Lisa Anderson Local Boy Consultant LLC Consulting/Contract 25 % NA

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Annual Compensation
Officer Self Whitney Inc. Less than $1,000

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Stanley Chang, District 4

City Council member Stanley Chang represents Hawaii Kai, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Wailupe, Waialae-Iki, Kalani Valley, Kahala, Wilhemina Rise, a portion of Kapahulu, a portion of Kaimuki,  Diamond Head, Waikiki and a portion of Ala  Moana. Chang is chairman of the Public Works and Sustainability Committee, and vice chair of the Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee.

He was elected in November 2010. He quit his job as an attorney at Cades Schutte to start campaigning for City Council on a full-time basis in the autumn of 2009, which explains why Chang’s income disclosure for 2010 is blank. Still, Chang has made disclosures about his affiliation with the law firm. When a former colleague, Jeff Portnoy, was nominated to the Ethics Commission, Chang disclosed it in writing and during a City Council committee meeting.

Reaction to Chairman Garcia’s part-time job: “Well, you know, I don’t know anything more than what I see in the press. From what I see, if the Ethics Commission approved of the situation, and they signed off, and I believe Chair Garcia mentioned that he had cleared it with the Ethics Commission, then legally speaking, there is no issue.”

Additional Sources of Income: “I’m a full-time City Council member, and I’m not now or for the foreseeable future prepared to take on part-time employment.

“Well, I do sit on a couple of nonprofit boards: Family Promise Hawaii, which deals with homelessness issues. I’ve been advised that if they were going to be impacted by any — for instance there are some resolutions coming up before the Department of Community Services — I was advised if something came up I should disclose that. Nothing’s come up so far. I serve with the Kahala Community Association. Again, there’s been nothing that has created a conflict of interest.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “You know, I just might say that in my experience, people at the city both working for the city or considering either employment with the city or service on a city board or commission typically do act out of an abundance of caution and they do consult the Ethics Commission very frequently just as a matter of course. I continue to do that in any situation where there’s even something remotely approaching a gray area.”

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Director Kahala Community Association 2 years -0-
Director Family Promise 1 year -0-
Director Chinatown Business and Community Association 1 year -0-

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Ann Kobayashi, District 5

Kobayashi represents a portion of Kapahulu and Kaimuki; Palolo Valley, St. Louis Heights, Manoa, Moiliili, Mc Cully, Kakaako, and a portion of Ala Moana and Makiki. She chairs the Planning Committee, and is vice chair of the Public Works and Sustainability Committee.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “Well, you know, it just depends. I don’t know who the members are of the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce. It seems to be a lot of rail supporters, which is OK but as long as you disclose. I was very surprised and disappointed that he didn’t disclose sooner. Usually he’s very careful about that kind of thing.”

Additional Sources of Income: “We have a family business, the AP Kobayashi Family Limited Partnership and Kobayashi Asset Management, which is kind of a company that sets up trusts for our children. We have a property near Punahou, we have a property on Maui, and we have a property on Young Street. We were part of that commercial/residential property-tax thing, when the taxes all went up. So whenever I voted on that, I recused myself. I didn’t vote at all.

“I did disclose every time, even when it didn’t affect our property. The initial legislation that would allow residents living on commercial property to dedicate their land for 10 years and get the residential (property tax rate), I didn’t vote at all. I disclosed why. And because it’s financial.

“Well there was one issue where I had voted on the budget and the budget included grants to nonprofits. I used to sit on many many nonprofit boards, not as a paid board-member though. Because the city gave some grants to I think two of the boards I sat on, I resigned from those boards, the Moilili Community Center and a domestic violence board. Now I just sit on March of Dimes because they don’t receive any sort of grant (from the city).”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “Disclosure is the main thing. Especially if it deals with any kind of financial gain or anything like that. In fact, I wouldn’t do stuff like sit on a board and get paid for it if it had business before the city, or may have business with the city. I would not put myself in that situation. The main thing is disclosure. But be careful. If you feel bad about something, disclose it. If you are in that situation you know because it doesn’t somehow feel right.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Ann Kobayashi City and County Council member $50,000 – $99,999
Ann Kobayashi State of Hawaii Retirement $25,000 – $49,999
Ann Kobayashi Federal Social Security $1,000 – $9,999
Ann Kobayashi Rental Income Partner $150,000 – $199,999

2010 Business Interests, Disclosed January 2011

Owner Business Name Nature of Business Interest Value of Interest
Paul/Ann Kobayashi AP Kobayashi Family Limited Rental Property 50 % At least $1 million
Paul/Ann Kobayashi Kobayashi Asset Management Property management 50 % At least $1 million

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Director Ann Kobayashi Hawaii Lupus Foundation 5 Years None
Director Ann Kobayashi March of Dimes 5 Years None
Director Ann Kobayashi United Japanese Society 5 Years None
Director Ann Kobayashi Hawaiian Lifeguard Association 5 Years None
Director Ann Kobayashi CUSO of Hawaii 5 Years None
Advisor Ann Kobayashi SHUFU Society 5 Years None

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Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, District 6

City Council member Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo was elected in November 2010. She represents a portion of Makiki, Downtown Honolulu, Punchbowl, Liliha, Pauoa Valley, Nuuanu, Alewa Heights, Papakolea, Kalihi Valley and a portion of Kalihi. Gabbard Tamayo chairs the Safety, Economic Development and Government Affairs Committee and serves as vice chair of the Budget Committee.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “So, you know, chambers of commerce in general are important to the business community and advocating for issues that are important to them. I think it is beneficial for all of us to have that conversation within the business community. Given their specific interest and support in the rail project in the interest of caution, absolutely I think it’s appropriate to disclose that possible conflict.”

Additional Sources of Income: “Nope, not really. I’m pretty black and white, cut and dried. I get a very small amount of rental-property income for two properties I own on the mainland. Nothing here, where I’d be trying to zone my properties or something.

“I’m in the Army National Guard, and I also do some very part-time work for an educational services company called Paxen Huli Ke Alo that basically provides work-related training to at-risk youth and at-risk adults. So they have facilities and programs all over the state. On Oahu they’re out in Nanakuli and the Waianae Coast.

“My title is partnership coordinator, which is a broad term and basically means just helping to link the services up with those who need them. I will say, unequivocally, one of my conditions of accepting employment with them is they absolutely do not do any business with the City and County of Honolulu at all. (If that changed), I would have to look at it, but I would consider terminating my employment with the company.

“Healthy Hawaii Coalition is really active and Stand Up for America has not really been active for at least the last couple of years. They’re both nonprofit community-based organizations. The funding for our education services (through Healthy Hawaii Coalition) is grant-based. We don’t do any fundraising from companies who may have an interest with the city or anything like that. So, erring on the side of caution, there’s not even a gray area there.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “Perception is everything. Even if you may be within the boundaries of the law, perception is everything. If there is a possibility that there would even be a perceived conflict of interest, then you need to take that very, very seriously.

“It’s a struggle to try to earn the trust of the public. It’s very important because we bear a great responsiblity in the job that we have to serve our communities, including the fiscal responsibility of how taxpayer dollars are spent.”

2010 Income, Disclosed February 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Self Hawaii Army National Guard Soldier Jan – Dec 2010 $10,000 – $24,999
Self Paxen Huli Ke Alo Partnership Coordinator Sep – Dec 2010 $1,000 – $9,999
Self Rental Property income Rental property income Jan – Dec 2010 $1,000 – $9,999

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed February 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Vice President Self Healthy Hawai‘i Coalition Indefinite None
Vice President Self Stand Up for America Indefinite None

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Romy Cachola, District 7

City Council member Romy Cachola represents a portion of upper Kalihi, Kapalama, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi Kai, Sand Island, Mapunapuna, Airport, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Ford Island, Aliamanu, Salt Lake, Foster Village, Stadium and Halawa Valley Estates. He is chairman of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee, and vice chair of the Zoning Committee.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “I think it could have been disclosed earlier. The way I look at it, it should have been disclosed earlier.”

Additional Sources of Income: “I used to have a real estate license and mortgage-broker license in terms of helping people get loans. But then I was told that for me to have a real estate license, I cannot have that as a possible conflict of interest. That was early on before (Ethics Commission Executive Director) Chuck Totto. Then I found out that there’s a council member that was given the OK. For me to go back and have a real estate license now, I’d have to go back and review and pass the real estate test.

“I also invest on my own when I think there are good deals. I look at more or less if I find a good real estate deal. If you look at my financial disclosure I have properties I own on Maui, Honolulu and all that.

“I don’t have any private employer. Right now my only source of income, me personally, is my salary with the City Council and Social Security. And then rental (property income) at one point in time on properties we own. But no rental income right now.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “So far, for me, it’s clear cut. My wife is a doctor, so if it is something to do with health, I’ll say, ‘Guys, my wife is a doctor, I just want to tell you that.’ It’s always better to just disclose. So far, I don’t have any other areas I have to declare.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Romeo Cachola City and County City Council member 2010 $25,000 – $49,000
Erlinda Cachola Self-employed Medical doctor 2010 $300,000 – $399,999

2010 Business Interests, Disclosed January 2011

Owner Business Name Nature of Business Interest Value of Interest
Erlinda Cachola Erlinda Cachola MD Medical Clinic Medical Clinic 100 % At least $1 million

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Honorary Board of Directors Romeo Cachola Kalihi Business Association 2010 None
Committee Chair Romeo Cachola St. Anthony’s Parish Filipino Catholic Club 2010 None

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Breene Harimoto, District 8

City Council Vice Chairman Breene Harimoto was elected in Nov. 2010. He represents Fort Shafter, Moanalua, Halawa, Aiea, Waimalu, Pearl City, Pearl City Peninsula, Seaview, Crestview and Waipio Gentry. He chairs the Transportation and Transit Planning Committe, and is vice chair of the Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee.

On Chairman Garcia’s Part-Time Job: “While I don’t believe there is any impropriety in the situation with our council chair, I do understand the perceptions. We all fully support him, we don’t believe there is anything wrong. But, understandably, there is a perception from the public that might not be all good. Personally, I would avoid that kind of position.”

Additional Sources of Income: “You know, it’s impossible to live on this salary here. I don’t hide this but I am employed by the Pearl City Foundation. I actually founded the Pearl City Foundation a long time ago. I was the janitor, mowing the lawn, everything. I started to get a little pay. Last year I was getting $36,000 a year as executive director-slash-janitor-slash-yardman. But when i took this job as City Council, I voluntarily reduced my Pearl City Foundation salary to $30,000.

“Pearl City Foundation, we’re a nonprofit. One of our main functions, we own and operate the Momilani Community Center. We do programs, events, all kinds of different things for the community. I see no conflict. To me, personally, I would never put myself in a part-time job that there might be a perception of conflict.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “Elected officials, we understand we live in a fishbowl. Much of what is perceived by the public may not be reality but that’s the life that it is. We have to be very careful about any perception of impropriety.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Breene City and County Research assistant 2010 $25,000 – $49,000
Breene Pearl City Foundation Executive director 2010 $25,000 – $49,000
Cheryl State of Hawaii School Social Worker/Retirement pension 2010 $25,000 – $49,000

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Director Breene Pearl City Foundation 2010 None
Director Breene Pearl City Community Association 2010 None
Director Breene Mana Loa – Nimitz Lions Club 2010 None

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Nestor Garcia, District 9

City Council Chairman Nestor Garcia represents Waikele, Waipahu, Village Park, Makakilo, Kunia, and Mililani Town. He came under ethical scrutiny last month when KITV revealed that he had a $60,000-per-year part-time job with the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for the city’s rail project.

Garcia has since defended his integrity, and points out that he disclosed the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce as a client even though Ethics Commission Executive Director Chuck Totto told him it wasn’t legally required.

“There’s no legal requirement that whoever — whether it’s a council member or anybody else — state who their clients are,” Totto told Civil Beat.

More from Garcia on his Kapolei Chamber of Commerce job: “I disclosed it even though it was not required. I served on the board first and then I served as executive director. The board hired me in 2009, and the only (board member) that has actually left since that time was the late, great Honolulu Advertiser. Because they had a plant out in Kapolei, so they were on the board.

“We do luncheons every quarter and we’re trying to do mixers at least every quarter. Those are the two big things that we do. A minimum of eight events a year. We’re trying to do a title event. At our last meeting we talked about that. What should we do? Should we get involved in the big Kapolei Christmas parade? We’re trying to form a committee to form a title event for us so we can get our name out there. We’re not just for business, but also more involved in the community.

“We have close to 100 members (in the chamber). For financial purposes, when people pay dues, that goes through our treasurer. I don’t want to handle money. On the board, I want to say there are 15 or 16. I don’t vote. I don’t have any voting powers.

“I don’t fill out billable hours, I’m not required to. Sometimes it’s a big rush with intense work to do. Other times, there is downtime.”

Additional Sources of Income: “Dura Constructors. I call them ‘The Marines’ because they’re first in, first out. They make concrete foundations. They don’t have a rail connection. They don’t have any connection to the city. A bunch of their work, they lay concrete foundations for Gentry Homes out in Ewa. So just this morning (March 30), I was out buying equipment for them. Safety glasses, fire extinguishers, I’m the safety officer. That’s what I do. I’m the safety officer and I try to make sure that people don’t get into accidents. If people do get into accidents, guess who has to make the accident report? It means I go out there as the investigator, get witness statements, it’s all required by federal law.”

How to Decide What to Disclose: “I want the disclosures of all nine of us. I voluntarily did it. Make it mandatory. Maybe the attorneys are going to fight it, but let’s talk about it.”

2010 Income, Disclosed January 2011

Recipient Employer/Source Position/Service When Annual Income
Nestor Garcia City and County Council member 2010 $50,000 – $99,999
Nestor Garcia NRG Mediacom, LLC Owner/PR Consulting 2010 $100,000 – $149,999
Karen Garcia Catholic Charities of Hawaii Executive Assistant 2010 $25,000 – $49,999

2010 Business Interests, Disclosed January 2011

Owner Business Name Nature of Business Interest Value of Interest
Nestor Garcia NRG Mediacom, LL Public relations consulting 100 % Less than $1,000

2010 Fiduciary Positions, Disclosed January 2011

Position Holder Business Term Annual Compensation
Executive Director Nestor Garcia Kapolei Chamber of Commerce 1 year $50,000 – $99,999

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