Baldwin appears in Arizona court to face felony charges

Gary Baldwin has traveled to Arizona to turn himself in to law enforcement officials, and was on his way back to Kaua’i yesterday after posting bail.

The Kaua’i business and civic leader is charged with four counts of theft and one count of committing a fraudulent scheme, for allegedly defrauding an Arizona eye doctor out of over $300,000.

On Tuesday, Baldwin made his first court appearance before Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Frank Galati.

The action in Arizona means the Hawai’i court system is through with Baldwin.

Baldwin’s extradition hearing scheduled for later this week for a Honolulu court is now canceled, said a Hawai’i deputy attorney general handling the case on O’ahu.

The Arizona judge is allowing him to travel to Phoenix for court appearances, and to travel to conduct Kauai Economic Development Board business, including upcoming trips to San Diego and Washington, D.C.

William FitzGerald of the Maricopa County attorney’s office said Baldwin’s court date was both an initial appearance in an Arizona court on a bench warrant issued in 1986, and an arraignment on the pending charges.

He was allowed to apply $274,000 in bail already posted in Honolulu to serve as bail in Maricopa County.

“The defendant was not taken into custody, but went to the sheriff’s department to be processed,” FitzGerald said. “He is free to travel, but must appear for all court proceedings.”

Baldwin’s next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 30, and will be before a different judge. It is expected he will enter a plea at that hearing.

An initial, pre-trial conference is set for Thursday, Sept. 26. At times, defendants are not required to attend such hearings. Baldwin has hired Phoenix attorney Michael Kimerer to represent him.

The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department has on record a 100-page incident report regarding Baldwin’s charges. The report offers details of interviews with witnesses and acquaintances of Baldwin during a lengthy investigation made in Arizona and Colorado. The deputy in charge of the investigation is now retired.

The case is in a Phoenix court because the alleged victim of the theft and fraud, a prominent Arizona eye surgeon, Dr. David Dulaney, filed the charges.

The case involves a Lear Jet deal gone sour, and Baldwin stands accused by Maricopa County officials of misappropriating money entrusted to him by Dulaney.

Baldwin was appointed by Mayor Maryanne Kusaka to two terms on the Kaua’i Planning Commission, and by Gov. Ben Cayetano as the inaugural Kaua’i representative on the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

He is a free man, and is now the full-time special projects director for KEDB. Bruce MacDonald is the interim president and chief executive officer of the non-profit business promotion organization, offices that Baldwin held until recently.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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