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Fired House employee testifies he was pressured to sign contract with Anaudi Hernández’s company

By on September 14, 2016

The United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (CB photo/ Juan José Rodríguez)

The United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (CB photo/ Juan José Rodríguez)

SAN JUAN – The House of Representatives’ former technology director, Víctor Burgos, reiterated for a second consecutive day Wednesday that amid intense pressure from his bosses, he agreed to sign the contract with now-convicted Popular Democratic Party fundraiser Anaudi Hernández’s company to replace the lower chamber’s switchboard, despite 3Comm Global’s lack of expertise.

Burgos testified in court that during a meeting with then-House Speaker Jaime Perelló to discuss a problem regarding a problematic computer server, he was questioned by Perelló about the status of the contract to replace the switchboard.

“They asked me what happened to the system and I explained that [House Administrator Xavier González] didn’t let me service the system before the server broke down. Then, the chamber’s president asked me what was happening with the switchboard. I said that was [up to] Xavier. Xavier then looks at me, and the president of the [lower] chamber tells me, ‘I need that contract signed now,'” Burgos reiterated without mentioning Hernández’s company, 3Comm.

The 28th witness of the federal prosecution, headed by Timothy Henwood, had pointed out Tuesday that “it was months of threats–that I was stubborn, that I didn’t follow instructions, that I didn’t know how to do my job, and the entire time it was about having to help the House president’s friends.”

Burgos said the pressures to sign the contract with 3Comm came directly from González, the House’s administrator at the time, and mentioned his assistant, co-defendant Glenn Rivera.

“On the one hand, Xavier would tell me it was hard to find work and on the other, Glenn would tell me that if I didn’t cooperate they would fire me…. Due to all those pressures is why my signature is on the contract. I signed it because if I didn’t, I’d be fired,” Burgos said during his testimony.

Similarly, the House’s former technology director said that Rivera had told him he “wasn’t used to the work environment” in that body.

“He told me he had to find a way to help the [House speaker’s] friends. I told him I didn’t care because I was looking for equipment and quality…. I refused to give 3Comm the proposal because I knew it didn’t have enough experience to install the switchboard…. I went to work there in the House to do things right but encountered people and processes that didn’t care about that. So when I started to refuse to give contracts to friends of the president, I was treated with hostility,” he said.

Rivera’s defense, led by attorney Juan Soler Masini, was cross-examining Burgos Wednesday after federal Judge Pedro A. Delgado decreed a recess in the morning after the House’s former technology director was interrogated.

Burgos was dismissed from the House in April 2014.

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