Justice Dept. to evaluate Viewpoint housing project referral next week
Author of investigative measure rails against minority party amid allegations of impropriety
SAN JUAN – The chairman of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives’ Capital City Development Committee, Eddie Charbonier Chinea, claimed Wednesday that the leadership of the chamber’s minority Popular Democratic Party (PDP), was trying to become relevant with an issue that was already addressed.
“The leadership of the PDP in the House is trying to be covered by media with sensational expressions that are far from the truth, all in an attempt to be relevant amid the poor performance of that leadership which is questioned almost daily by many of the members of that delegation. Today’s comments are another example of that hunger to be seen on television while lacking substance…,” Charbonier said in a statement.
The New Progressive Party (NPP) lawmaker’s remarks came after Minority Leader Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez questioned the validity of the Final Report on House Resolution 982, authored by House Speaker Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez and Charbonier, which investigated the contracting and permitting process for the Viewpoint at Roosevelt project in Hato Rey, which was recommended for approval by the island’s Financial Oversight and Management Board.
Charbonier said he will meet with staff of the Puerto Rico Justice Department’s Division of Public Integrity, Financial Crimes and Comptroller Affairs Office on Aug. 28 to discuss the findings of the resolution.
“It was us who introduced the Research Resolution. The ones who have attended all the hearings have been us; in fact, the leadership of the PDP did not go any of them. The ones who brought the irregularities of the process to the public’s attention, were us, not them. The ones who made the referral to law and order agencies was us, not them; and still, they question the procedure.
“Let there be no doubt that this Resolution was worked on with all the transparency and rectitude that characterizes us and will continue to guide the destinies of this Chamber, as our President has laid out. This is not the PDP, which was legislating late at night, which did not make way for any resolution for investigation of its own administration in four years and now hardly present ideas and concepts to improve Puerto Rico,” Charbonier concluded.
PDP Reps. Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez and Luis Raúl Torres Cruz said Wednesday that the outcome of the final report on House Resolution 1201, raised flags, alleging a lack of transparency in the report presented by Charbonier after he publicly remarked about irregularities he would refer to authorities regarding the Viewpoint project.
“During the past weeks, both Eddie Charbonier and the president of the Chamber, Carlos“ Johnny ”Méndez insisted about irregularities in the contracting and permitting process at the Viewpoint housing project in Hato Rey, highlighting the intervention of the [fiscal board’s] former revitalization coordinator, Noel Zamot, and former Secretary of State Pedro Pierluisi in this House investigation. However, in the 53-page report presented by Charbonier, there is not a single mention or specific list of crimes or illegal actions by any of these two officials,” Hernández said in a press release.
The minority leader said “the only thing revealed in this report was that some land was not paid for, that it was sublet, that there was a confidential agreement and that they do not share the criteria of the Fiscal Control Board (JCF) to classify it as a Critical Project,” he said.