Anaudi Hernández Testifies About $750K Raised, Mostly in Cash
SAN JUAN – Former Popular Democratic Party (PDP) fundraiser Anaudi Javier Hernández Pérez said Monday morning in federal court that at the end of now-Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s campaign a fund-raising plan was organized that managed to amass $700,000 to $800,000, much of it in cash, which was delivered to then-gubernatorial campaign Director Irvin Faccio.
In testimony that began at 11 a.m. in Courtroom 3, presided by federal Judge Pedro Delgado, the former party fundraiser said he held several fundraising events at his mansion in Aguadilla for García Padilla and the president of the House of Representatives, Jaime Perelló Borras, and detailed the final efforts of García Padilla’s gubernatorial campaign.
“At the end of the campaign [in 2012], Irvin Faccio organized a plan called ‘The Pyramid.’ The plan was that each of the members of [García Padilla’s] finance committee had to find five people who would contribute $5,000 as a couple and each person had to raise $25,000. The committee’s members were Ismael Torres, Álex Medina, Jaime Babilonia, Lutgardo Acevedo and two more people whose names I can’t remember,” Hernández Pérez said.
How much money did the ‘Pyramid’ raise, federal prosecutor Timothy Henwood asked. “Between $700,000 and $800,000. I raised about $100,000 and Lutgardo $25,000 in cash, which he gave to Irvin Faccio, who was in charge of receiving the money we were getting,” Hernández Pérez said.
As part of his testimony, the party fundraiser acknowledged to the jury of seven women and five men that he is accused in the case and has a plea bargaining agreement with prosecutors in exchange for solving the case and a reduced sentence.
Hernández Pérez, 41, the prosecution’s 11th witness–in the federal case against co-defendants Ivonne Nieves Falcón, former Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa) vice president; Sally López Martínez, former Workforce Development administrator; Glenn Rivera Pizarro, former assistant of Xavier González Calderón, former House administrator; and Marielis Falcón, sister of former Prasa vice president–said in court that campaign funds were collected in cash.
Did that cash violate electoral law, Henwood asked. “Yes. Seventy-five percent was collected in cash and the rest in checks. Yes, it was a violation. This was done first because there were people who contributed and didn’t want to appear in the registry or who had already reached the contribution cap or were from other parties,” he said.
How many fundraising activities did you have at your house in Aguadilla, Henwood inquired. “Between 10 and 12 times. In the case of [García Padilla], there was an event at the PDP convention, where Sally [López Martínez] was in charge of financing. By that time, I had been identified as a witness so we decided Sally would be in charge of the event along with attorney Pedro Ortiz Álvarez,” he explained after identifying co-defendants López, Falcón and Rivera in the courtroom.
How much money did you raise for Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and House President Jaime Perelló, the prosecutor asked. “For Alejandro, between $300,000 and $350,000, and for Perelló, $60,000 to $75,000. In the case of Alejandro, the money was given to Harry Vega, who in turn gave it to Rolando, and in the case of Perelló, the person in charge of collecting the money was Xavier González, the administrator of the House,” he said.
Was there a fundraising limit established for Gov. Alejandro García Padilla and Jaime Perelló that members of the respective finance committees set, Henwood asked. “In the case of Alejandro, each of the members had to come up with between $200,000 and $250,000 per area, and the budget was set by Luis ‘Jerry’ García Padilla [the governor’s brother]. In the case of Perelló, the max was $75,000 each and the budget was done by Ferdinand Pérez and Liza Ortiz [who resigned as party President and gubernatorial candidate David Bernier’s campaign manager], but gave it to Ferdinand’s secretary,” Hernández Pérez explained.
The PDP fundraiser said during his testimony that the members of the governor’s finance committee before the general election were “Jerry” García Padilla, Erick Reyes, Myriam Ramos and Johnny Crespo.
“Before Alejandro became governor, we met at Popular Democratic Party headquarters and after he became governor we met at Radio Isla’s offices,” he said.
At the beginning of his testimony, Hernández Pérez said he started working for Garcia Padilla’s campaign in 2010, when he learned he intended to run for governor.
“When it was said he would run for governor, I called Jerry and put myself at their disposal. At the time, he recommended some people in the senator’s [García Padilla’s] office and we met from August to October 2010 in Aguadilla,” he said.
The witness said it was in 2012 when he decided to leave his business, selling cellphones, “to devote myself to doing business in government” with his partners Héctor Vargas, Eder Ortiz, Ramses Maldonado and José Rafael Guntín and José Rodríguez.
“The important part of the business was my relationship with the governor and the speaker of the House. Eder Ortiz had more access than I with the legislators since he had been senator and electoral commissioner. Héctor focused on the finances since he had worked in banking, and Ramses in the technology area,” Hernández Pérez said about how they would access the government and the role of his partners in 3 Comm Global and Links Group.
As of today, how much access do you have to the government, the prosecutor asked Hernández Pérez.
“None,” he replied.