Hawaii Boss Sues Former Union; Says He’s Not Liable for Debt

afscme-logoGary Rodrigues left a long legacy as director of the United Public Workers, a Hawaii affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. A good portion of that legacy involved criminal activity, which is why for the past year he’s been residing in federal prison. In the interim, some unrelated business has come back to haunt him. And as befits his style, he’s fighting back. On Tuesday, December 9, Rodrigues’ attorney, Eric Seitz, filed suit in state court alleging that his client’s former union, and not Rodrigues himself, is responsible for repaying an $850,000 debt incurred on an investment of a decade ago. In a non-jury civil trial last February and March, U.S. District Judge David Ezra had ruled that Rodrigues was liable. This case doesn’t involve criminal charges. Yet it does shed additional light on the workings of a powerful and often corrupt public employees’ labor Read More ➡

Judge Orders Hawaii Father, Daughter to Serve Sentences

Gary Rodrigues and his daughter, Robin Rodrigues Sabatini, don’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” In their case, that’s not such an admirable trait. Back in 2002, the two were convicted in federal court on nearly 200 charges of criminal misconduct, including embezzlement, mail fraud and money-laundering, in connection with the disappearance of nearly $380,000 from the United Public Workers (UPW). Rodrigues, 65, had been state director of the Honolulu-based union, an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Sabatini was a union contractor. This past June, a federal appeals court in Hawaii affirmed the decision and prison sentences. But the pair is pulling out all the stops to avoid their fate. Now the court is signaling that its patience is limited.


On October 31, U.S. Circuit Court Judge David A. Ezra gave the convicted pair until January 7 to begin serving their sentences, rejecting Read More ➡