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RHC Will Campaign For PDP, Party Alleges NPP Fraud Before SEC…Acevedo Vila’s Congressional Record Sought, Romero Barcelo To Ask FBI Inquiry Of Him…Rossello Seeks Investigation Of PDP Leaders, He Won’t Submit Tax & Pension Documents, Says He Wasn’t In Superaqueduct Negotiations…30 Days For Acevedo Vila Donation Report

Hernandez Colon Will Campaign For Acevedo Vila And Prats

April 29, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

PONCE (AP) - Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Secretary General Anibal

Jose Torres, said Thursday that he is confident former governor Rafael Hernandez Colon will campaign in support of Anibal Acevedo Vila and Roberto Prats bid for governor and resident commissioner, respectively.

"I assure you that the former governor is already involved in the campaigns for the candidates for governor and resident commissioner, as former party president and governor, Rafael Hernandez Colon has always been willing to defend the causes of his party when he is needed," stated Torres.

Torres said that already Hernandez Colon advises him, as well as Acevedo Vila.

"I receive advice from Sol street in Ponce, I’ve had the opportunity to meet the former governor on several occasions. His advised is always well received, they are full of wisdom," he said.

According to Torres, the former governor will also aid legislative and mayoral campaigns.

"Once again I assure you that Hernandaz Colon has been helping the candidates, attending forums, as he has always done; he is behind Anibal and Roberto Prats and their platforms," said Torres.

On the other hand, he said that PDP finances are in good condition, being that they only have a $400,000 debt which they will repay by summer.

PDP Calls On SEC To Investigate Fraud By The NPP

April 28, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP)- The State Elections Commission (SEC) will evaluate next week a lawsuit issued by the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) that calls for an investigation of alleged misappropriation, regarding the rerouting of public funds into New Progressive Party (NPP) campaign accounts.

The lawsuit filled by the PDP’s Electoral Commissioner, Gerardo Cruz, was a result of letters sent by Rep. Jorge Colberg and Sen. Eudaldo Baez Galib, according to a press released issued by the SEC.

According to PDP legislators, the accusations arose from charges concerning cases involving the Superaqueduct and the Education Department, in which high ranking NPP officials are implicated for possible violations to the electoral law.

The wrong use of public funds, the illegal solicitation of campaign contributions, contributions that exceed legal limits, soliciting of bribes and filing false reports are among the violations being investigated by the SEC.

NPP Electoral Commissioner, Thomas Rivera Schatz, dismissed the accusations as retaliatory and alleged that several members of the PDP have violated electoral law without recourse.

Baez Galib noted that the SEC is obliged to penalize any political parties that may exceed campaign spending limits.

The senator said that according to article 3.015 of Puerto Rico’s Electoral Law "the Treasury Secretary cannot authorize the disbursement of funds to any party or candidate until stipulated criteria is met, as stated in the article."

Cruz called on SEC President, Aurelio Gracia, to expedite the investigation due to the seriousness of the alleged charges, which may bar the NPP from receiving funds until the issue of their 1996 campaign accounts are resolved.

Acevedo Vila’s Congressional Record Requested

April 27, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP)- The New Progressive Party (NPP) filed a request on Tuesday before the United States House of Representatives for a copy of Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila’s legislative session attendance record.

The request was made by House of Representative at-large candidate, Rolando Crespo in a letter, which demanded copies of attendance records, committee membership, and the number of committee meetings that Acevedo Vila has attended as resident commissioner.

He also asked for a copy of the commissioner’s expense account including travel expenses during the last four years.

"We see him everyday here (on the island) campaigning and not looking after the interests of the Puerto Rican people in the US Congress," said Crespo in press conference at the NPP headquarters.

He added that they will also call on Congress to investigate a $20,000 donation made to Acevedo Vila by doctor Richard Machado, although he is not sure whether congress has any jurisdiction.

Romero Barcelo To Request FBI Investigation Into Acevedo Vila

By Melissa B. Gonzalez Valentin of WOW News

April 26, 2004
Copyright © 2004 WOW NEWS. All rights reserved.

Former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo announced on Monday that he would request an FBI investigation into Resident Commissioner Anibal Acevedo Vila’s involvement in a $20,000 political donation back in 1999.

"This is too serious. If he does these things as a candidate, he could do even worse things as a governor," said Romero Barcelo during a press conference held at NPP headquarters in Hato Rey.

Acevedo Vila has admitted having received a $20,000 check from former primary candidate for San Juan mayor Richard Machado in 1999. Acevedo Vila has said the check had been made out to a political action committee known as Friends of Anibal Acevedo Vila. However, he admitted having deposited it into a personal account, which also belonged to his sister Zaydee Acevedo Vila. He has claimed that the money was used to lobby against Project Young in the U.S. Congress.

Although Acevedo Vila has reiterated that he is guilt free because at the time of the donation–March 1999–he had not been certified as a candidate, on Monday Romero Barcelo listed a series of arguments to state the contrary.

Romero Barcelo showed a newspaper clipping of Feb. 8, 1999 in which Acevedo Vila expressed his intention to seek the Popular Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidacy for resident commissioner.

According to Romero Barcelo, Acevedo Vila violated federal electoral laws because he should have filed his candidacy as soon as he received more than $5,000. The $20,000 donation was made in March. Acevedo Vila filed his candidacy for resident commissioner on June 10, 2000, Romero Barcelo said.

Romero Barcelo added that campaign funds deposited into personal accounts to pay for lobbying efforts in Congress are known as slush funds or illegal use of funds.

Romero Barcelo said that even when the statute of limitations on the alleged violations may have expired, Acevedo Vila could still be held accountable under the federal Racketeering Act, if authorities can prove that the PDP gubernatorial candidate has been involved in a pattern of unlawful conduct.

"Acevedo Vila has engaged in a pattern of criminal acts. He is capable of anything," said Romero Barcelo.

Romero Barcelo reminded the press about the reprimand that the U.S. District Court gave Acevedo Vila last year for engaging in unethical conduct as an attorney. The court reprimanded Acevedo Vila for failing to drop a case against Romero Barcelo despite knowing about the existence of exculpatory evidence.

Acevedo Vila has promised to reveal how the $20,000 were spent. The State Elections Commission is expected to disclose its findings on the issue within a month.

Rossello Requests Investigation Of PDP Leaders

April 26, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP) — Former Gov. Pedro Rossello urged the Treasury Department on Monday to investigate Popular Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate Anibal Acevedo Vila, Gov. Sila Calderon, and her husband Ramon Cantero Frau.

Rossello’s Campaign Director Frances Rodriguez said the New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate has instructed certified public accountant Miguel Carbonell to represent him in the investigation that the department has begun against him.

Rodriguez said Rossello is willing to submit all documents required by the agency, but urged Treasury Secretary Juan Flores Galarza to ask the same from Acevedo Vila, Calderon, and Cantero Frau.

Rodriguez disclosed two letters that were addressed to Flores Galarza on Monday. In the letters Rossello gives the Treasury chief five days to answer his petition to investigate the PDP leaders.

Rossello told Flores Galarza that failing to act upon his request would prove that the Treasury investigation against him has been politically motivated to persecute the NPP president for his ideas and political affiliation.

Rossello Will Not Submit Tax And Pension Documents

April 26, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP)- New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate, Pedro Rossello, said that he has authorized his accountant to represent him in a Treasury Department investigation into his 2001 and 2002 tax filings.

Nevertheless, he warned that he will not spend his time looking for documents that pertain to his disputed pension or to his tax files, both filed locally and those filed outside Puerto Rico, for the years in question.

"I am giving complete authorization, because those requirements are unacceptable…They want me to look for 40-year-old documents pertaining to retirement. They want me to look for documents that are not here, which are in Virginia. I am in the middle of a campaign, which is being conducted here," stated Rossello.

"I am giving my accountant the power to represent me. I am instructing him to present the evidence as is customary in these types of cases, as accountants do every day," he added.

Rossello also requested that all meetings between his accountant and the Department of Treasury be recorded and copies made available to "know what they are plotting." ?

Rossello Says He Was Not In Superaqueduct Negotiations

April 26, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP)- New Progressive Party (NPP) gubernatorial candidate and former governor, Pedro Rossello, stated that he never intervened in the Superaqueduct negotiations.

He also denied that he gave instructions that the Board of Directors of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa) be denied access to a report by the Corps of Engineers.

"That is false…all this has been taken out of context and I use it as example of a completely false situation used by you (journalists) to exploit the situation," said Rossello in a press conference.

"I did not at any time intervene in the process. The evidence should be presented before false accusations are repeated out of context," he added.

In minutes from a board meeting on October 5th, 1995 then Prasa's Executive Director Emilio Colon was quoted as saying that Rossello had given instructions that prohibited cost projections reports from being released.

When asked if Colon was lying in the official minutes, Rossello refused to make the allegation.

30 Days To Submit Report On Acevedo Vila Donation

April 23, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

SAN JUAN (AP)- An auditor from the Puerto Rico State Electoral Commission (SEC) must present a report within 30 days regarding the investigation of a $20,000 check signed by Dr. Richard Machado that was deposited in 1999 into an account for "Friends of Acevedo Vila."

The electoral commissioner of the three political parties announced the decision; they also called on auditor Luis Mendoza to determine the legal recourse even though he is not an attorney.

"My understanding is that the account into which the check was deposited was an expense account for the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) to pay debts incurred by the party," stated Independence Party electoral commissioner, Juan Dalmau.

The electoral commissioners told a newspaper that the investigation was aimed at establishing whether PDP gubernatorial candidate, Anibal Acevedo Vila, was running for any political office at the time of the donation, in March of 1999.

It would also determine whether Acevedo Vila should have filled a financial report with SEC pertaining to the contribution.

Acevedo Vila defends the legality of the contribution.

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