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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Labor leader Rodrigues' trial delayed until January

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

The trial of union leader Gary Rodrigues on federal charges of embezzlement, mail fraud and money laundering has been postponed until January, and he may face additional charges as well, it was revealed in court yesterday.

San Francisco attorney Doron Weinberg, who is representing Rodrigues in the case here, called it "a highly complex matter," one that requires a review of more than 100,000 pages of documents related to the accusations against Rodrigues, head of the local United Public Workers Union, and his daughter, Robin Haunani Rodrigues Sabatini.

The 43-count indictment brought against Rodrigues and Sabatini in March claims he overcharged UPW members for health and dental insurance and hired his daughter, without union members' knowledge, as a consultant to evaluate the health plans.

Prosecutors maintain that Rodrigues spent more than $200,000 of union members' money improperly to pay off a personal debt, to buy a new truck for himself and to hire his daughter at an inflated salary.

Rodrigues has denied any wrongdoing.

Florence Nakakuni, the assistant U.S. attorney handling the case, told federal Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang yesterday that she did not object to moving the start of the trial back to January, given the complexity of the case and the likelihood that a "superceding indictment" will be brought.

Nakakuni told Chang she could not say when the revised indictment might be issued or what new counts it might contain.