Former State Rep. Abraham Giles was admitted to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center yesterday with pneumonia and stopped breathing this morning, but was resuscitated, family members said.
Giles, 84, is in critical condition in the intensive care unit at St. Francis, said his daughter-in-law, Olga Vazquez. He is not alert or responsive, she said.
"We lost him this morning but he was resuscitated," Vazquez said. "We're hoping for the best."
She said family members were gathering at the hospital. Giles has been in poor health, and has been in and out of the hospital numerous times in recent years, Vazquez said.
Giles served as state representative for the 4th House District from 1972 to 1988. He was defeated in 1988 by Maria Sanchez.
He again ran for the seat in 1990 after Sanchez died, but lost in a special election to Edna N. Negron. He also lost a race for the 5th House District seat to Marie Kirkley-Bey in 2008.
Giles, who also held jobs as a parking lot operator, hotel clerk, real estate broker, deputy sheriff, supermarket owner and state marshal at different points in his life, ran into trouble in 2009 when he was arrested and charged with attempted first-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny in connection with a city hall corruption investigation.
Prosecutors said that in 2007, then-Mayor Eddie Perez attempted to extort money from a private developer for Giles' benefit, and that, in return, Giles would secure votes for Perez, who was running for re-election.
The state contends that Perez exploited Giles' influence in the city's 5th District, steering lucrative no-bid parking lot deals and other business arrangements to Giles in exchange for a promise to deliver votes and ensure Perez the endorsement of the Democratic town committee. The 5th District was torn between Perez and candidates Minnie Gonzalez, Frank Barrows and I. Charles Mathews.
In July 2007, Perez received the endorsement at the Democratic town committee convention, with crucial support from the 5th District. He went on to win the primary and general election.
Giles pleaded guilty to attempted fourth-degree larceny by extortion and conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny by extortion in December. He received a six-month suspended prison sentence and one year conditional discharge, meaning no prison time.
A jury convicted Perez of five felony corruption charges in June. He was sentenced to prison in September, but is free on bail pending an appeal.