Rivera Schatz Says He Is Not Out of NPP Ballot
SAN JUAN—New Progressive Party (NPP) Sen. Thomas Rivera Schatz waylaid Popular Democratic Party (PPD) Rep. Luis Vega Ramos on Monday, after the latter called on NPP gubernatorial candidate Ricardo Rosselló to remove Rivera Schatz from the party ballot due to a scandal involving a million-dollar fraud committed by employees of the Superintendent of the Capitol during Rivera Schatz’s presidency.
Rivera Schatz lambasted Vega Ramos, saying that there is no evidence linking him, or the former House speaker and current NPP candidate for resident commissioner, Jenniffer González, with the scheme.
“Not only will I stay on the ballot, but we will win big. The people of Puerto Rico have to choose who to believe. Either we believe the comptroller, who has clearly stated that we are not related with these accusations and that there has been no finger pointing against yours truly or Jenniffer González, or we believe Luis Vega Ramos, “said the senator.
“The truth is that none of those involved or any of the witnesses on this issue have said that, for example, they paid the apartment rental of any NPP legislator, as [what happened with PDP legislator] Mari Tere González. NPP legislators have also not received large amounts of money for personal expenses, as in the case of Anaudi with PDP lawmakers such as Jorge Suárez, among others, which were mentioned during the testimony of the former party fundraiser. So, again, they are little more than 30 days left before the election, so we submit ourselves to the scrutiny of the Puerto Rican people without a single notice from the Office of the Comptroller, not one, and not a single notice from the ethics office,” he added.
Reports from the Puerto Rico Comptroller’s Office recently revealed that from July 2009 to October 2015, a fraud scheme that favored contractors who performed works and improvements in the Capitol was conceived. In return, the contractors gave part of the money obtained in irregular contracts to several officials.
Rivera Schatz said that Senate President Eduardo Bhatia, of the PDP, does not understand the autonomy of the Office of the Superintendent of the Capitol. He added that such a “fact” exempts Rivera from knowing about the fraud scheme in which 16 employees, two officers and a special assistant to then-superintendent, Eliezer Velázquez Quiles, were involved.
The NPP legislator urged the public to take a look at the Senate’s legislative record that Rivera Schatz presided under the Luis Fortuño administration, in contrast to the work done by the current PDP Senate majority.