Authorities in California had several prior opportunities to extradite Gary Rapport, the former head of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation, but didn't do so until last week when Rapport was arrested in Ketchum on a 6-year-old Orange County felony burglary warrant.
Rapport's wife Yanti Ibrahim alleged on Friday that the Ketchum Police Department "engineered" her husband's arrest to protect the reputation of the CDC and because members of the organization's board of directors were afraid that Rapport might harm them.
"They were afraid he might retaliate physically," Ibrahim said.
The Ketchum Police Department declined to comment on the allegation.
"I don't think it deserves one," said police spokeswoman Kim Rogers.
Police in Seal Beach, the Orange County city where Rapport allegedly committed the burglary, denied Ibrahim's allegation.
"Not true," said Detective Gary Krogman, chief investigator on the Seal Beach charge. Krogman said Seal Beach police only became aware of Rapport's whereabouts last week and were not aware of any previous occasions when he might have been extradited.
CDC Board President Neil Bradshaw said Tuesday that the organization had no involvement in Rapport's arrest.
"Our involvement was up when we accepted his resignation," said Bradshaw. "I don't think the CDC can affect one way or another what happens with an arrest warrant in Orange County."
Rapport, who resigned on July 8 as executive director of CDC, remained incarcerated Tuesday on $150,000 bond in the Blaine County Jail. He has declined to waive extradition and is a waiting an "identification hearing" scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
Rapport was arrested by Ketchum police the afternoon of July 8 after the Orange County warrant was changed from non-extraditable to extraditable.
Why the warrant was changed was not clear. The Orange County District Attorney's Office reported that it was unable to answer the question on Tuesday, but spokeswoman Farrah Emami said she would research the question and respond at a later time.
Detective Krogman said it said the warrant "probably" should have been extraditable all along. The warrant was issued after Rapport allegedly failed to appear in 2002 for a court hearing on the burglary charge.
"He's known about the warrant forever," Krogman said. "All he had to do was come in and take care of it."
Rapport is accused in Orange County of stealing money in 1997 from Leisure World Market, where he was employed prior to the alleged theft.
Past opportunities to extradite
Ibrahim, who is Indonesian, claims that authorities in Orange County had several previous chances to extradite Rapport.
"So many times police try to call California," she said. "Not just one time."
Ibrahim said she first learned of the California charge against her husband when she moved with him from Indonesia in May of 2006 and they were detained for several hours at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport when the warrant surfaced.
"And the police in the Seattle airport tried for two hours or more to find out or call California and they let us go. They said they do not want him. It was not a big deal."
Ibrahim said the warrant surfaced several other times when Rapport was pulled over on traffic charges after the couple moved to Bozeman, Mont. Each time, police let him go, she said.
The warrant surfaced again in December of 2007 when Rapport was charged with assault in Bozeman for allegedly strangling his wife. Ibrahim said she told Montana authorities about the California warrant but that once again no attempt was made to extradite Rapport.
Police in Bozeman confirmed Friday that Rapport faces an assault charge there.
"The report indicates that he strangled his wife the point of losing consciousness," said Bozeman police Lt. Rich McLain. "She was not hospitalized for anything related the incident. This is a misdemeanor offense at this point in the state of Montana, so he faces up to a year imprisonment and up to a $1,000 fine."
Attempted strangulation in Idaho is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Ibrahim forgave Rapport
Ibrahim acknowledges that her husband choked her in Bozeman, but said he never physically assaulted her before and has never done so since.
"He had a bad temper," she said. "He choked me yes, but I wasn't unconscious. That's just marriage. You can not just make it sweet. Of course I forgave him for that time. Yes, he said 'I kill you,' but it doesn't mean he wanted to kill me because I'm still alive now."
Ibrahim is now making preparations to move from Ketchum and follow Rapport to California.
"His wife and all his children support and love him," she said. "I'm not letting him go by himself. I married him for not just good times. If he has a bad time, then I'm beside him too."