As Karl Rodney recently awaited sentencing in Washington, D.C., even U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan announced how impressed he was at the turnout for the publisher of the Carib News.
Rodney admitted that he had improperly completed a form according to newly minted rules governing the participation of members of the U.S. Congress in privately sponsored events related to the annual Caribbean Multinational Business Conference.
Among the 80 luminaries in the courtroom in support of Rodney were:
- Faye, his wife
- Susan Taylor, founder and CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, and editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence magazine
- Tom Moran, CEO of Mutual of America
- Danny Bakewell, former chair of NNPA
- Ambassador Carl Masters, president of Goodworks International
- Dr. Julius Garvey, world-renowned physician
- Rev. Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook, U.S. ambassador for International Religious Freedom
- Lloyd Williams, president of the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce
- Richard Bernal, former ambassador to Jamaica
- Dr. Una Clarke, former New York City Council member
- Elinor Tatum, Amsterdam News publisher and Editor in Chief
- Estelle Dubisson, the first Caribbean-American Mother of the Year at Carib News’ community event in 1984 and the founder of Friends of the Children of Las Cahobas, Haiti
- Dorothy Leavell, former chair of the NNPA Foundation.
That distinguished turnout and Rodney’s eminent lawyers, professor Charles Ogletree of Harvard Law School and Deveraux Cannick, obviously had an impact on Sullivan, who sentenced Rodney to only two years probation, 500 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine.
“We can now put this behind us,” declared Leavell.
“It was a struggle, but justice prevailed,” said Ogletree. After more than three years of investigations and legal proceedings, Rodney and his family could finally exhale.
Following the sentencing, Rodney addressed his friends and associates. “First, I want to thank my beautiful wife, Faye, and my children for their love and courage,” he began. “They never left my side, not even for a single moment. I want to thank our countless numbers of friends and supporters for their prayers and generosity. Thank you for your unyielding faith. Throughout this ordeal, you stood firmly in my corner.”
There was special praise for his lawyers, “Words cannot express my gratitude to my lawyers, professor Ogletree, and Deveraux Cannick. Truly, I could not have navigated this storm without them,” he said.
Sullivan said he had received more than 200 letters of support, including one from Harry Belafonte, who wrote: “I have been a long-time friend of Mr. Rodney. I would testify to his character and to the many good deeds he has done personally and for the community.”
There were also words of commendation from attorney Basil Paterson, who said: “Karl Rodney is a very special person…He and his family have not only published a newspaper with special emphasis for the Caribbean connection, but he has participated in innumerable civic activities. The breadth of his outreach and the volume of support correspondence are indicative of his commitment to and involvement in the social, economic and political progress of our community.”
For Rodney, the proceedings and court date were but a momentary distraction. “We have been pulled over to the side of the road for a moment, but now we must get back on course and continue our journey together,” he told his supporters.
“The Carib News continues, our annual Multinational Business Conference continues, and we must work harder than ever to advance opportunities in business, technology, education and culture for the Caribbean, African-American and African communities here and abroad, now and in the future. My friends, God bless you all-and now we have work to do.”