Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 1:52 p.m., Monday, February 6, 2006

Rutledges get probation in Unity House case

By Jim Dooley
Advertiser Staff Writer

The nine-year federal criminal investigation and prosecution of former labor leader Anthony "Tony" Rutledge Sr. ended this afternoon after Rutledge pleaded guilty to a single tax offense and agreed to serve a three-year term of probation.

Rutledge said he was relieved the case was over and his lawyers derided the quality of the case brought against him.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra said he didn't know if the plea agreement reached by the government with Rutledge met the ends of justice, but noted: "While there were serious charges laid against him, they have not been proven and he is not guilty."

Rutledge's son, Aaron, a co-defendant in the case, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal charge and will serve one year of probation.

The U.S. government's 2004 takeover of Unity House Inc., the $42 million non-profit labor organization previously headed by Tony Rutledge, was ended by Ezra today. But the judge granted the court-appointed company operating Unity House four months to wrap up pending legal matters.

Ezra also noted that there is a "serious" ongoing IRS civil audit of Unity House's finances and its status as a tax-exempt organization.

Reach Jim Dooley at jdooley@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2447.