Old UPW director awaits appeal verdict
What ever happened to former United Public Workers state Director Gary Rodrigues, who was convicted in federal court four years ago of criminal charges involving his role in negotiating dental and medical contracts for the union?
"He is well, upbeat, married and living on Kauai," said Eric Seitz, Rodrigues' attorney.
A federal jury convicted Rodrigues, longtime UPW leader and former member of the Judicial Selection Commission, in November 2002 of 101 counts of mail fraud, money laundering and embezzlement in connection with his negotiation of the union's dental and medical contracts. He was also convicted of accepting kickbacks from an agent of a welfare benefit plan that was governed by federal regulations prohibiting the acceptance of gifts or gratuities.
Prosecutors alleged that Rodrigues used his influence as union leader to negotiate the contracts so that his daughter, Robin Haunani Rodrigues Sabatini, an accountant, would benefit as a consultant. Sabatini was convicted of 95 counts, including mail fraud and money laundering.
U.S. District Judge David Ezra granted their requests to remain free pending an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The parties gave oral arguments before a panel in August 2005, and a ruling is still pending.
Rodrigues, meanwhile, has been working and waiting for the 9th Circuit to rule on his case, Seitz said. As a condition of his release pending appeal, Rodrigues has not had any involvement with any UPW or UPW-related matters, Seitz said.
If their convictions are upheld, Rodrigues must serve five years and four months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He must also pay $378,000 in restitution to the UPW.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Debra Barayuga.
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