Baldwin extradition hearing today

Kaua’i civic leader Gary Baldwin is scheduled to appear at an extradition hearing in a state court in Honolulu at 3:15 p.m. today.

Baldwin was arrested at his home south of Kilauea on Monday morning by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who were assisted by officers of the Kauai Police Department, on federal charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

In Arizona, he’s wanted by the Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriffs Department on charges of felony theft and fraud involving over $300,000 he allegedly stole from an eye doctor in Phoenix, Ariz. in 1984.

In an FBI report to the press, the agency said Baldwin was indicted in 1986 by a Maricopa County grand jury on the charges, and when he learned of the charges he wrote a fake suicide note and disappeared.

Baldwin arrived on Kaua’i sometime in the early- to mid-1980s. He became a leader in business and government, holding posts including being a charter member of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority, a two-time chairman of the Kaua’i County Planning Commission, head of the Kaua’i Economic Development Board and a close associate of Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Honolulu prosecutor’s office spokesman Jim Fulton said Tuesday the extradition hearing is scheduled to be heard before First Circuit Court Judge Reynaldo D. Graulty.

Baldwin may waive extradition, or fight it, at the hearing, Fulton said. However, he added, any final decision on allowing him to be extradited to Arizona will rest with Gov. Ben Cayetano, who must sign off allowing permission in such “state to state” cases.

Details on the description of the fugitive the Maricopa Sheriffs Department was looking for in 1986 emerged in a report from The Scottsdale Tribune of Scottsdale, Ariz. On Tuesday, the newspaper’s crime reporter, Teri Laxson, read sections of a Maricopa Co. sheriff’s report written in 1986 on a case that occurred in 1984.

The report stated, Laxson said, that $332,539.44 was allegedly taken from Dr. David Dulaney of the Dulaney Eye Clinic in Phoenix, Ariz. between Aug. 1, 1984 and Dec. 15, 1984. The report, she said, alleged that a Gary James Baldwin misrepresented himself to Dulaney, and was a middle man helping the doctor to buy a Lear Jet. During the purchase process, the report claims, the suspect took the money.

The man alleged to have committed the crime was affiliated with a private jet company in Colorado, and the Gary James Baldwin named in the report had a last known address in Colorado.

A physical description in the report had the suspect at 5 feet, 10 inches in height, and about 180 pounds in weight. In addition, the report stated that the man had scars under his arms and on his upper body, she said.

A note in the report, Laxson added, said of the suspect: “It is common knowledge to those acquainted with the suspect has the unique ability of changing his physical appearance rapidly.”

The date of birth of the suspect is given in the report as Jan. 17, 1947.

Published reports on Tuesday said a 1997 profile of Baldwin’s accomplishments on Kaua’i, published in Inside Kauai Business magazine, gave his birthdate as Jan. 17, 1947.

Support for Baldwin and his accomplishments on the island continued to come forth on Tuesday.

The Kauai Economic Development Board issued a statement on Baldwin’s arrest, stating: “…We have no personal knowledge or information about any of the allegations contained within the published media reports. We believe that it is important, however to state that Gary Baldwin has been a dedicated and tireless advocate on behalf of KEDB and the people of Kaua’i. Like everyone else, we believe in the Constitution of the United States and the proposition that there is a presumption of innocence.”


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