Comptroller detects ‘ambiguities’ in use of San Juan public funds
SAN JUAN – A report released by the Puerto Rico Comptroller’s Office found that the Municipality of San Juan and its Legislature passed a series of resolutions on the use of public funds for mass-attendance events that “lacked clarity” about their public purpose and the funds to be used.
According to the report, the resolutions passed by the Municipal Legislature to carry out activities in rejection of the the fiscal control board and other events, were “ambiguous with respect to the activities to be attended and the authorized public funds.”
The 25-page report details among its findings that the Municipality of San Juan disbursed $288,803 in a total of 22 events between Feb. 27, 2013 and Nov. 11, 2016. Municipal workers were paid $64,644 and $224,159 was used for other expenses.
Some of the activities detailed in the report include a march against the value-added tax ($4,260); three events against the fiscal board ($16,765); and 11 events related to the release of independence activist Oscar López Rivera ($73,613).
With regard to five other events related to support for LGBTT community equality and evangelical “Clamor a Dios” marches, “no resolutions or ordinances were approved” detailing the use of these funds. These events reported a disbursement of $22,660.
The Comptroller’s Office recommended that Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz “make sure municipal resolutions are presented and signed, and are detailed and clear about the allocation and use of public funds to be used, if any,” and that the municipal legislature send to the mayor “detailed and clear” resolutions for her signature.
“We urge the mayor and the municipal legislature to give priority to the pressing needs of their municipality and to pass detailed and clear resolutions. This way, the transparency that must exist in times of fiscal crisis such as those our country is going through prevails,” concludes the comptroller’s report, which was sent to Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.