Rutledge Changes Plea to Guilty in Tax Case

Tony Rutledge
Tony Rutledge

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Anthony Rutledge has changed his plea for one of the felony charges he's facing.

Thursday in federal court Rutledge entered a guilty plea. The former labor leader is hoping it will put an end to what he called "a long drawn out court ordeal."

The 59-year-old former Unity House leader pleaded not guilty to 12 counts of fraud and tax charges in November. But U.S. District judge David Ezra rejected the agreement which would have allowed Rutledge to return to Unity House.

On Thursday in District Court, the former labor leader plead guilty to filing a false tax return in 1997. In a new plea agreement, Rutledge would agree to three years probation, a $100 fine and retiring from the labor organization.

But Eric Gill, the head of the Hotel Workers Union says he isn't satisfied with the deal. He claims there's a huge loophole that would allow Rutledge to control some of Unity House's money.

It will be up to Judge Ezra to accept or reject the agreement. His decision is expected to be announced 10:30am on Friday.

Rutledge and his son Aaron who also faces multiple charges declined to comment Thursday.

Aaron changed a plea for a misdemeanor charge from not guilty to guilty. But the senior Rutledge said whether or not the plea is accepted or rejected he plans to make a statement following the Friday hearing.