In the end, it took longer to put George Shirakawa Jr. in jail than the time he actually served. But that might not be the case for long.
An official at Santa Rita Jail, where the former county supervisor had been in custody since November of last year, told San Jose Inside on Tuesday that Shirakawa was transferred to Santa Clara County jail officials on Friday, May 9, because he had a hold for a warrant.
Deputy Kurtis Stenderup, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, said that Shirakawa was received on that date but had few other details. He added, “He’s no longer in our custody.”
The deputy said he would need to speak with county counsel to make sure he was not breaking privacy laws by disclosing more details of Shirakawa’s release.
On Nov. 8, roughly eight months after Shirakawa resigned from office and pleaded guilty to five felonies and seven misdemeanors, Judge Daniel T. Nishigaya sentenced the former top elected official in Santa Clara County to a year in jail—minus one day served—for pilfering more than $130,000 from his 2008 supervisor campaign.
Metro/San Jose Inside first broke the story of Shirakawa’s failure to file campaign disclosure forms, which he did not submit in an effort cover up his funneling of contributions to a secret bank account. He used this money to fund his lavish lifestyle and gambling addiction, as well as pay the salaries of friends and family. Shirakawa and his chief of staff, Eddie Garcia, would laugh off the issue in an interview.
A subsequent Metro/San Jose Inside report found that Shirakawa was also misusing thousands of taxpayer dollars on meals and vacations. He later reimbursed some of the expenses and the county would eventually revise nearly all of its employee expenditure policies.
Shirakawa’s release roughly six months after his sentencing is not a surprise, as each day served in good conduct earned him an extra day credit. He was confined to the infirmary for much of his stay at Santa Rita Jail.
A message left at his home was not immediately returned, and a call to Linda Delagdo, who served as Shirakawa’s campaign treasurer and is the mother of one of his children, also went unanswered.
While Shirakawa is out of custody, his legal troubles are far from over. He will be back in court this fall on a mail fraud charge after his DNA was found on an illegal political mailer connected to Xavier Campos’ 2010 San Jose City Council campaign. Delgado served as a treasurer to both Shirakawa and Campos, which led the Fair Political Practices Commission to launch an investigation into Campos' campaign in April of last year.
In October, Campos invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering grand jury questions, but a search of Shirakawa's home turned up materials and receipts that could be connected to the mail fraud scheme.
Shirakawa's new trial is expected to begin in September.