PDP Demands UPR Governing Board Investigate Alleged Fraud by Rosselló
SAN JUAN – Popular Democratic Party (PDP) politicians summoned the Governing Board and University of Puerto Rico Interim President Celeste Freytes González to investigate the alleged fraud against the Medical Sciences campus (RCM by its Spanish acronym), and treasury when hiring New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló, first as Assistant Professor and then as Associate Professor of that campus.
PDP General Secretary Javier Echevarría Vargas said the alleged scheme, concocted under political cronyism, constitutes an “embarrassing and immoral” act, and merits a thorough investigation by the UPR administration, and immediate return of money obtained by Rosselló without fulfilling his academic responsibilities.
“The fraud scheme earned an income of more than $100,000 to Ricky Rosselló’s governorship, who has been publicly accused of not fulfilling his obligations as a professor while dedicating most of his time to activities related to electioneering prior and during his gubernatorial candidacy,” said the PDP General Secretary.
The Secretary also stated that some months ago Rosselló was accused of “skipping the line” to publish a book in the UPR Editorial, violating rules in the process.
“Today we denounce loudly and clearly the second fraud held to give him a position as professor in the RCM. Although in its moment the fraud was alerted by organizations such as the Association of University Professors (APPU), but nothing happened and impunity reigned. Today we present how Ricky Rosselló deceived the University of Puerto Rico,” added the PDP spokesman.
According to Echevarría Vargas, the scheme is divided in several phases. The first began in Aug. 1, 2012, when Rosselló was granted a full-time “special designation without rank” in the RCM’s Neurobiology Institute, which doesn’t have a staff committee, facilitating his designation while omitting the UPR’s regulative requisites, including a public announcement to make way for competition. This type of designation has an exceptional character and irregular bestowal.
The second phase of the alleged scheme was formed when the NPP politician resigned his post as Assistant Professor on Dec. 31, 2013, after facing public denouncements from fellow professors and his students. Despite his resignation, Rosselló was hired again by the RCM, just a few weeks later (Jan. 29, 2014), as Associate Professor “ad honorem” in the same Biochemistry Department he had departed from.
Echevarría Vargas also emphasized that Rosselló’s designation in the Medical Sciences campus was decided in the absence of Neurobiology Institute Director Steven Treistman, who had opposed nominating the present NPP gubernatorial candidate. Expeditiously, Ilka Ríos, Dean of Academic Affairs and known NPP activist, materialized the hiring process.
“It turns out that [Ilka Ríos] appears as a contributor to Rosselló’s campaign since 2013,” observed the PDP General Secretary.
For his part, Popular Youth Vice President Manuel Calderón Cerame denounced that during Rosselló’s time in the RCM he was publicly accused of not complying with his academic occupation or responsibilities.
“Our investigation suggests that, while Ricky received a full-time professor’s salary (37.5 weekly hours), he participated in political activities, interviews in communications media, and travels outside Puerto Rico related to his political agenda, thus falling short on his responsibility as Assistant Professor. All that information is retrieved from his own Twitter account and denouncements made by the country’s communications media,” affirmed Calderón Cerame.
The Vice President showed various examples of specific dates that show how Rosselló “deceived” the UPR during Aug. 2012 until his resignation on Dec. 2013.
“On Jan. 16, 2013, Ricky Rosselló, instead of fulfilling his duty as a full-time professor in the RCM, was in Washington, D.C. lobbying in favor of statehood, through ‘Boricua Ahora Es,’ a movement presided by Ricky Rosselló himself, which redounded in a political movement that launched his gubernatorial candidacy for the NPP,” he stated.
“That fraudulent scheme shows how easy life has been for Ricky Rosselló, and confirms his working life has been a fiasco. However, we hear him lie to Puerto Rican youth when he said he knew how frustrating it is to obtain a college degree, look for a job, and not obtaining it. Likewise, we hear him create panic to public employees when during the last NPP convention he threatened to fire thousands of them under the premise of being named in the electoral year,” punctuated Calderón Cerame.
Finally, Echevarría Vargas handed the press copies of the letter addressed to the UPR Governing Board President, Carlos Pérez Díaz, and Freyte González, which requested the investigation, repayment from Rosselló, and the destitution of the NPP politician and everyone implied in the scheme, and they also handed files of the personnel and University Editorial.