`Organized hit’

August 26th, 2010

Russell Figueiroa, the president of the engineering firm R.M. Towill Corp., has posted a statement on the company’s website denying that he wrote a letter alleging corruption by former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, his former deputy director and confidant Trudi Saito, and Saito’s brother, insurance agent Bruce Matsushita.

Figueiroa called the claims in the letter “outright lies and negative innuendos” and said he reported the apparent forgery to authorities. The letter was initially circulated in the engineering and architectural community and then to members of the Waialae Country Club and others. Matsushita is the club’s president-elect.

The letter was immediately suspicious because of its amateur quality and the fact that Figueiroa’s name was spelled wrong.

From Figueiroa:

This is to inform you that I did not write that letter, and I have never given anyone permission to use my name in connection with outright lies and negative innuendos made about Mufi Hannemann, Bruce Matsushita, Trudi Saito and others.

I can only assume this is a despicable smear campaign being used against Mufi Hannemann and his supporters, timed for the coming elections.

Figueiroa, who supports Hannemann, could not be reached for comment.

William McCorriston, Figueiroa’s attorney, said Figueiroa decided to post the Aug. 20 statement because the letter had been so widely circulated and had the potential to damage his reputation.

“I think politics has reached the lowest of the low when people steal other people’s identity and forge letters and publish lies, all for the purpose of political gain,” he said.

McCorriston said Figueiroa has discussed the matter with the FBI. He said that he is also investigating who was behind the letter. “If we do uncover the culprits there will be hell to pay,” he said.

Tom Simon, a special agent with the FBI, said the FBI does not comment on the existence of an ongoing investigation.

The Hannemann campaign has privately wrestled over how to the handle the letter, but had to address it publicly after Figueiroa posted his statement.

“The state of Hawaii has a history of last-minute smears, and this is no different,” said David Wilson, a spokesman for the Hannemann campaign. “What’s troubling is that based on the large volume of mailings — whoever is doing this mailing, it’s a fraudulent letter because it wasn’t signed by the guy they said signed it — is that it’s organized and funded.

“And that is really a huge disappointment to the Hannemann campaign. I’m not pointing fingers. I’m not naming names. I’m just saying that this is an organized hit.

“Clearly, where this is coming from, they are not the Boy Scouts of America,” he said. “Boy Scouts know better.”

Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, Hannemann’s opponent, released this statement today:

According to news reports, an obviously forged letter that makes accusations against Mufi Hannemann and purports to be from Russell Figueiroa is being distributed to people in Hawaii. This forged letter and any such acts like it are despicable and the perpetrators should be caught and punished. They do nothing but harm to our entire community.

Particularly in this age of instant communications, all citizens have a responsibility to carefully consider what is presented to them. It is important that we not let the juvenile acts of a few people degrade and corrupt our political system. When something such as this letter appears—something so obviously done with malice and distributed in such a cowardly manner—I believe it is best for people to dismiss it and condemn it into oblivion where it belongs.

RF Letter Aug 20 2010

12 Responses to “`Organized hit’”

  1. OldDiver:

    Considering who has been responsible for the smears so far leads me to believe this could be a smear started by the smearer to smear the other guy. Actually I don’t if my statement makes any more sense than Mufi’s campaign blaming Abercrombie for an alleged smear.

  2. noname.please0:

    I feel we should say no to drugs and hope everone Help .
    grass (dope) is Hawaii #1 export let slow it down.
    let see more drug dealer in Jail.

  3. galekaminari:

    What it smells like is a SELF-SMEAR. The obvious smear effort with poor quality letter and misspelling of name would have kept recipients from thinking it was true, but the effort would reap all the benefits of victimhood. Who has money to burn on trash mailings?

  4. Cannot Say:

    Classic Keith Rollman dirty trick

  5. waialuahaole:

    If the FBI confirms they have indeed been contacted and are investigating it, then I think we can safely assume that whoever is behind the scheme is outside the Hannemann camp (and that doesn’t necessarily mean it originated w/ Abercrombie either).

    But someone would have to be donning some industrial strength conspiracy theory tinfoil on their noggin if they think that Hannemann’s campaign (or anyone remotely connected to their campaign) would have orchestrated this piece and then they are now having the FBI get involved.

  6. Jim Loomis:

    Describing this half-assed, juvenile fake letter as “an organized hit” is clearly a not-so-subtle attempt to convince people that the Abercrombie campaign was behind it. And that, in my book, is just as bad as forging the letter in the first place.

  7. kailuaresident:

    This rises to the level of Ed Case’s smear. Neil doesnt want his old reputation of being a nasty, short temepered person surfacing, so hes got pother people doing his smears. Some anonomouys, some not….

  8. Maxinne Davis:

    I’m sorry. Anyone who is saying that Hannemann’s campaign orchestrated a elaborate conspiracy and then involved federal law enforcement is out of touch with reality.

    I’m going to skip the obvious reasons why one would not smear oneself, and ask what major political campaign would involve the FBI if the letter was a fake. They have a well-deserved reputation for getting to the bottom of things, and there’s no way someone would run the risk of being found out.

  9. Mr. 3 4 3:

    I have to agree with Maxine Davis. Hers is the only post that makes any sense. Why would a respected bsuiness leader go on record as it being a forgery if it was not. The letter was written with a type writer for God’s sakes. Think about it people. The evidence all speaks to an actual smear.

    Only Abercrombie’s people would be quick to declare this as a self smear so they could use it as a red haring. So to all you folks back it up or shut up!

  10. Agents of Justice:

    The FBI will get them, it is most likely Ed Case the sore loser. FBI, that is your foremost suspect, then Neil Abercrombie’s campaign manager. Get them boys.

  11. OldDiver:

    This works both ways, Hannemann’s people are implying this is a smear from the Abercrombie camp. So like Mr. 3 4 3 said if you have proof Mr. Hannemann back it up or shut up!

  12. Hawaii1st:


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