Flying in Guatemalan Witnesses for Rubashkin Case Could Cost Iowa Taxpayers $35,000


agriIn a highly unusual move, the Iowa attorney general’s office said it received approval to spend up to $35,000 in state money to fly in eight former underage Agriprocessors workers from Guatemala to testify┬áin the child labor trial of former company executive Sholom Rubashkin.

The funds were approved by the state’s executive council, made up of Iowa’s governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer and secretary of agriculture.

The office has used $15,000 of those funds so far, said Eric Tabor, the attorney general’s chief of staff. The office requested the funds because of severe budget cuts that have left several positions unfilled and forced most employees to take two weeks of furloughs, he said.

“It is unusual. This is a situation where we have serious budget shortfalls in our office,” he said. “So when a major expenditure like this came along, we have statutory authority to make the request.”

Reb Sholom Mordechai will make the daily drive from Linn County jail in Cedar Rapids for the duration of his trial in Waterloo on 83 state child labor charges, the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s office said.

The former Agriprocessors executive had been staying in Linn County while awaiting sentencing May 27.

Reb Sholom Mordechai was originally to stay in the Black Hawk County jail across the street from the courthouse for his scheduled three-week trial. However, when the jail could not provide the kosher food he required, as first reported exclsuively here on, he refused to eat for about 24 hours in what his attorneys called a hunger strike.

{Noam Newscenter/Des Moines Register}


  1. The Workers who provided false information in order to be hired are no states witnesses?

    What’s the big deal to spend $35K after a 5 million dollar raid, and the incarceration of 370 people for 5 months at the cost of an additional 5 million, whose convictions by the way were later overturned.