Kauai man admitsLIHUE >> Prominent Garden Isle resident Gary Baldwin, the former head of the Kauai Economic Development Board, pleaded guilty yesterday in Phoenix to a charge of felony theft.
guilt in Arizona
The ex-Garden Isle official stole money
meant for a LearJet
By Anthony Sommer
At a hearing in Maricopa County Superior Court, Baldwin, 56, accepted a plea bargain from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. Prosecutors will drop three other theft counts and a fraud charge on which Baldwin was indicted in 1986.
Baldwin was accused in the indictment of stealing $330,000 from a Phoenix eye surgeon, Dr. David Dulaney, in the course of selling a LearJet to Dulaney's clinic.
At yesterday's hearing, Baldwin agreed to pay $260,000 in restitution to Dulaney by March 25, the date the court set for Baldwin's sentencing.
If the restitution is paid, the charge against Baldwin will be reduced to a misdemeanor, he will be placed on probation and he will be allowed to serve the probation in Hawaii, said Bill Fitzgerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.
If restitution is not paid, the plea bargain will be withdrawn, and Maricopa County will take Baldwin to trial on the four original charges, Fitzgerald added.
Neither Baldwin nor his attorney were available for comment yesterday.
According to investigative reports made public by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Baldwin lived in Boulder, Colo., in 1984 and operated an executive aircraft leasing service.
At the same time, he was hired by Dulaney to handle the eye clinic's finances. Dulaney agreed to buy a $3.3 million LearJet from Baldwin and lease it back to Baldwin's company. Dulaney also allowed Baldwin to represent him in the purchase as his financial manager.
According to police reports, Baldwin made a series of wire transfers of money from Dulaney's bank accounts into accounts Baldwin controlled, without Dulaney's knowledge. Although the money transfers were to pay for services related to the airplane purchase, only a small portion was used for that purpose. The rest vanished.
Baldwin disappeared from Boulder a short time later. His car was found at the Boulder airport, and police found a note in which he designated who should receive the personal property he left behind.
Baldwin moved to Kauai in 1985 and went into the rental car business but apparently did not notify any of his friends or family of his whereabouts, according to police detectives.
He was indicted in 1986 by a Maricopa County grand jury. The indictment was kept sealed, and Baldwin did not know about it until last year when he was arrested at his home by FBI agents on July 22. He has been free on bail since then.
Baldwin became executive director of the Kauai Economic Development Board in 1993 and developed a plan to persuade defense contractors doing business with the Navy's Pacific Missile Range on Kauai to open offices and manufacturing facilities on the island.
Baldwin developed close ties with U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and became Kauai's first representative on the Hawaii Tourism Authority's board of directors. He did not seek reappointment when his term ended in June.
In November he retired from the Kauai Economic Development Board, citing health problems. He is now employed by the Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii, a federation of the economic development boards in the state's four counties.
County of Kauai
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