Former Adler adviser facing prison time after pleading guilty to redirecting nonprofit funds to himself
Frank Rodriguez, a former senior policy adviser to Mayor Steve Adler, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to misapply federal funds and falsify records, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Rodriguez began serving Adler in 2015, in which he also served as a member of a City advisory commission and the executive director of nonprofit Latino Healthcare Forum. He will face up to five years in prison after allegedly accepting a $20,000 "consulting fee" in exchange for his help obtaining a federal grant for the nonprofit.
A DOJ document says in June 2015, he falsely stated that he was LHF’s “Chief Development Officer” and “Authorized Representative” and submitted an application to receive federal grant funding for being a navigator to the Affordable Care Act. When the nonprofit was granted the funds, Rodriguez emailed an employee to make sure they “were on the same page with respect" to his fee of “10% of the grant.”
He was subsequently paid more than $20,000 by the nonprofit in “consulting fees” between December 2015 and December 2016 after the execution of the “consulting agreement,” according to the government report.
Rodriguez, who is now 71 and living in Dripping Springs, continued to work on the nonprofit’s behalf while a city employee, providing confidential city information to the nonprofit and undermining the nonprofit’s competitors for city funding. But in 2017, the Auditor’s Office for the City of Austin started an investigation into Rodriguez’s conduct as a member of the city commission and as a city employee. He resigned as Adler's aide that year.
Additional allegations are that in January 2018, during the course of the investigation, Rodriguez drafted a letter to the City Auditor that contained multiple false statements regarding his relationship with the nonprofit, and the letter was later finalized and submitted to the City Auditor. At a June 2019 city ethics hearing, Rodriguez testified falsely under oath that the money he had been provided by the nonprofit was reimbursement for previous expenses incurred on the nonprofit’s behalf, the DOJ says.
On Jan. 7, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misapply federal funds and to falsify records in an investigation within the jurisdiction of an agency of the U.S. He is scheduled for sentencing on March 24.
- Report: Dozens sue luxury West Austin student apartments for 'Ponzi ... ›
- Austin man charged in $1.7B 'Ponzi-like' scheme - austonia ›
- Austin ranks more dangerous than Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth ... ›
- Missing Texas State student Jason Landry featured on true crime ... ›
- Mayor Adler signs up to advise California real estate company Pacaso - austonia ›
- San Marcos favorite Industry Burger opens "mid-October" on E. 5th, featuring "low key healthy" Texas fare.
- Still Austin Whiskey Co. introduces "The Artist," its new rye whiskey.
- Domain NORTHSIDE favorites Bakery Lorraine, Grimaldi's Pizzeria, Jeni's Ice Cream and Sprinkles released their fall flavors.
- Cinnaholic at The Arboretum opens Friday, October 14, serving "create your own" cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats.
- San Francisco's Marufuku Ramen opens next Wednesday, October 12, in the Mueller District.
- Carpenter Hotel announces its popup food truck, Lil Carpenter, open Fri-Sun both ACL weekends, serving what you want, early to late, coffee to donuts, to dogs/burgers/fries/beer.
With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."