New Charges for Hawaiian Boss

A federal grand jury in Honolulu returned a new indictment Dec. 19 against United Public Workers boss Gary Rodrigues and his daughter Robin H. Sabatini adding to an existing union corruption indictment that was brought in Mar. 2001. The new indictment alleges that Rodrigues accepted more than $100,000 in kickbacks from a life insurance agent in connection with an employee benefit plan. In Mar., he was indicted for allegedly embezzling from the union’s medical and dental plans through overcharging.

Currently, both are charged with 50 counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud a health care benefit program, two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and 42 counts of money laundering. Also, Rodrigues is charged with five counts of embezzling union assets and one count of accepting kickbacks in connection with an employee benefit plan. Their trial was set to begin in Jan., but the new charges are expected to cause a several month delay.

Rodrigues allegedly negotiated agreements with Hawaiian Dental Serv. and Pacific Group Med. Ass’n, under which some of the money paid by union members for monthly premiums was later used to pay consultants reviewing the health plans. He allegedly instructed the health care firms to issue checks for consultant services to firms owned by Sabatini. Also, he allegedly never told UPW that he had included consulting fees as part of the contract and set up his daughter and her firms to primarily receive those fees. [Honolulu Advertiser 12/20/01]