NPP Lawmaker Alleges Irregularities in Isabela Under PDP Gubernatorial Candidate
Sen. Carmelo Ríos claims Mayor Carlos Delgado’s administration was rife with waste
SAN JUAN — Senate Majority Leader Carmelo Ríos described Isabela Mayor Carlos “Charlie” Delgado’s administration as plagued with discrimination against municipal workers and extensive waste of public funds. Delgado is the Popular Democratic Party’s (PDP) gubernatorial candidate.
“The people of Puerto Rico have to cast an intelligent vote and need to know who the candidates on the ballot are,” Ríos said in a press release Wednesday. “That’s why we are demonstrating the two sides of the PDP’s hopeful, who brags about being a good administrator while his record shows violations of the law, work discrimination, non-existing public works and people with dubious reputations working in his campaign. The PDP candidate tries to sell himself as a refreshing new face, but the reality is another.”
The Delgado campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
At a news conference in the majority New Progressive Party (NPP) headquarters in San Juan, Ríos alleged that the mayor of Isabela has faced lawsuits that have drained the municipal budget.
“For the past 20 years, Delgado has propagated terror in his municipality,” Ríos charged. “As soon as he became mayor in 2001, he began to politically harass municipal employees and fire them without fair cause. The persecution reached such a point that those workers ended up suing the municipality at a federal level, and in 2006 the case was settled for a whopping nearly $1 million. When we look at his record, Charlie Delgado’s work as mayor of Isabela leaves much to be desired and he is far from being a good administrator.”
Ríos further alleged that by 2019, Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board determined that the coastal town, along with nine other municipalities had to submit a fiscal plan. However, Ríos said, Delgado failed to deliver the fiscal plan and a few months back the board had to certify its own fiscal plan for the town. He further charged that the board has repeatedly requested information on the municipality’s financial statements, which have yet to be submitted.
“Certainly, this demonstrates a clear lack of transparency,” Ríos assured.
Meanwhile, the NPP lawmaker said the Puerto Rico Comptroller’s Office pointed out that in the last two fiscal years, the municipality of Isabela closed with a deficit. Ríos alleged that throughout Delgado’s career, the Comptroller’s Office has pointed out more than 50 irregularities, which Ríos said range from false appraisals used for procurement, possible misappropriation of public funds and illegally made position appointments.
In addition, the NPP lawmaker said there have been irregularities in the public bidding process, “extravagant expenses” and even contracting of professional and advisory services paid with federal funds without obtaining appraisals, while the contracts were awarded after the required date.
The NPP lawmaker further charged that during Delgado’s 2016 campaign for reelection as mayor of Isabela, he made a number of promises he didn’t meet, among them, establishing new restaurants, the Guajataca Tunnel project and recreational areas. He allegedly also promised to create new access for the public beaches in the area, parking lots and sidewalks off of PR-466, which is close to Jobos Beach.
However, Foundation for Puerto Rico (FPR) announced Wednesday that thanks to multisectoral help and other non-profits that assisted, the revitalization of the Guajataca Tunnel project had been completed.
“Thanks to the teamwork between diverse non-profit organizations, community groups, volunteers, municipal governments and businesses of the region, the northeast region now counts on a revitalized Guajataca Tunnel, which is ready to receive visitors,” FPR said in a media release.
“The administrative incompetence of [former Gov. Aníbal] Acevedo Vilá’s running mate caused the municipality of Isabela to lose billions in revenue from works he never carried out, in breach of those who supported him, another reason Charlie Delgado failed as an administrator. And that’s how he intends to lead Puerto Rico?” Ríos added in his release.