Hawaii Boss, Daughter Lose Appeal on Fraud Convictions

afscme-logoGary Rodrigues and Robin Rodrigues Sabatini are a persistent father and daughter team.  But persistence doesn’t necessarily pay off.  And in their case, it probably shouldn’t.  Late in August the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, rejected a request by the pair to have a larger panel of 15 judges rehear their appeal of convictions on dozens of charges, including mail fraud, money laundering and embezzlement.  They had been accused of defrauding the 12,000-member United Public Workers, where Rodrigues had served as state director.

Beginning in 1992, alleged prosecutors, Rodrigues funneled union “consulting” fees into his daughter’s two companies, in return receiving nonexistent work.  The law of averages, if belatedly, caught up.  The pair eventually were caught and prosecuted.  In 2003 the father received a sentence of more than five years, while the daughter got three years and 10 months.  Both have remained free during their appeal.  That process apparently still isn’t over.  The pair plan to file an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, said Victor Bakke, one of Sabatini’s lawyers.  If their request is denied, they could be ordered to begin serving their terms within a few weeks.  The local, affiliated with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has been under local control following a two-year receivership under AFSCME starting in December 2002.  (Associated Press, 8/26/07).