Life is truly amazing isn’t it?
Each day we live our lives, we work hard for our families, pay our
taxes, and struggle to make ends meet, yet at the end of each day we
are so thankful for what we do have — a way to make an honest living, health and family.
Then we read an article in the paper such as the one about SSFM
President Michael Matsumoto. Mr. Matsumoto, according to the city
prosecutor and state Campaign Spending Director, laundered more than $200,000 to the campaign of Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris. He also laundered more than $200,000 to other politicians, such as former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, former Lieutenant Gov. Mazie Hirono and former Maui Mayor Kimo Apana. Yet his sentence for the conviction of laundering the $200,000 to Harris was merely community service and a fine. This after he endangered the well being and freedom of friends, co-workers and family by using them to launder the money. And after he manipulated an entire industry, pressuring them through his actions to contribute illegally as he did and setting a tone in Hawaii’s political and business climate as “pay so you can play.”
This reality — the crime v. the lack of time — hit me hard and made
me start to question why am I working so hard? Why am I paying taxes? Why am I trying so hard to be a good citizen and person when the criminals continue to be rewarded.
Another question I asked myself — who does he know to get away with these crimes and get off with such a light sentence?
This light sentencing of Michael Matsumoto hit me especially hard as
I have a son who has been a part of our “justice” system since he was
14 years old.
Yes, he was party to a crime at a young age. A friend he was with
held up a couple sitting at a bus stop with a steak knife in order to
get their backpack and money so they could buy lunch. My son was
offered a plea bargain, which the judge did not honor, resulting in
my son being imprisoned for four years of his life in the boy’s
Koolau facility until he was 18 years old.
Unfortunately, this was not the end of my son’s relationship with our
so-called justice system. He continued to get into trouble and
unfortunately got involved with the wrong people. Now 21 years old,
he is in prison for one year for not adhering to his probation
because he tested positive for drug use. And for his crime, the
prosecutor is seeking a 10-year sentence.
My son is 21 years old and his crimes have been considerably less
serious than that of Michael Matsumoto, yet Michael Matsumoto is a
And we call this justice?
”’Shaunna Clark-Fruin can be reached via email at:”’ mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org