News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Fri. Mar. 11, 2011: Jamaican-born newspaper publisher, Karl B. Rodney, is set to plead on a charge of making a false statement to Congress next month, News Americas has learnt.
Rodney, who founded the media company Carib News Inc. and a related charity, was due to plead before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Wednesday, March 9th in a D.C. court but will now appear before Sullivan on April 14th at 11:30 a.m.
Rodney is accused of falsely certifying that “the statements on a certification form were true, complete, and correct to the best of his knowledge, when in truth they were untrue, incomplete and incorrect especially as it related to identifying all the sponsors of his annual Caribbean business conference and all the sources that had earmarked funds and other support to finance aspects of the trip.”
The charge follows a long-running congressional inquiry into two Caribbean trips, one in 2007 and one in 2008. Money from several major corporations, including American Airlines, AT&T and Verizon, helped to pay for at least six lawmakers to go on the trips, according to a February 2010 report from the House Ethics Committee.
Members of Congress face restrictions on attending conferences sponsored by corporations that have lobbyists, but Rodney and his staff did not disclose that anyone other than the Carib News Foundation was sponsoring its conferences, according to the ethics committee’s report.
In its report last year, the ethics committee publicly accused Rodney; his wife, Faye Rodney; and their employee, Patricia Louis, of submitting false or misleading information during the committee’s pre-travel review of the conferences. It referred the three to the Justice Department for possible prosecution. Court documents do not show that Faye Rodney or Louis have been charged.
Under U.S. law, anyone who knowingly and willfully “falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry” shall be fined and could be imprisoned for not more than 5 years.