Organizations File Lawsuit Against U.S. Department Of Treasury For Withholding Information Related To The Fiscal Control Board

A lawsuit was filed today in the New York District Court to demand information about the files related to the process of appointing the members of the Fiscal Control Board, specifically the documents related to ethical conflicts and the financial disclosures that were required, as well as other details of the creation of the entity by the PROMESA federal Act. The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Investigative Journalism, LatinoJustice PRLDEF and the Center for Constitutional Rights against the U.S. Department of Treasury under the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”.)

Plaintiffs filed their original request for information in 2017, stating the Department of Treasury breached its legal obligation by not responding timely to the FOIA request, despite having admitted that it has located the documents. The lawsuit outlines 15 types of requests that include criteria used to evaluate the members of the control board, which agencies intervened, the documents submitted by each candidate for the board, how the agency or other agencies established criteria and evaluated potential conflicts of interest, and any relevant information concerning the professional and personal background of each candidate that was used in their assessment, among others. “Having access to these documents takes on new relevance when the re-nomination of current candidates is before the consideration of Congress and when the expiration of their term approaches in August. In addition, a federal appeals court has said that the way in which the current members were appointed was unconstitutional, which makes our request and demand to understand how the vetting process for candidates was managed by Treasury more pertinent,” said Carla Minet, Executive Director of the Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI, for its initials in Spanish.)

The Treasury’s delay in producing the documents adds to the refusal by the Fiscal Control Board to the petition for some of the same materials about its members, such as the financial disclosure reports.

An Airbnb boutique hotel: Opportunity Zones arrive in Old San Juan

The walk is led by Adrian Beales, an Australian sales director for Lifeafar, a company that offers real estate investment options for people from abroad. Behind him is a group of 20 investors. They left El Convento hotel on Cristo Street in Old San Juan after the second day of the 2019 Lifeafar Investors Conference: three days of talks — from April 23-25 — about the advantages of investing in Puerto Rico. At 4:30 p.m. they go down Luna Street toward San Francisco Street under a clear sky. Upon reaching Plaza Colón, they form a semicircle, some of them cover their face from the sun and contemplate building 405.

[FACT CHECK] Ricardo Rosselló: “Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index grew by 3% for the first time in 12 years.”

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló-Nevares said in his State of the Commonwealth address that “For the first time in 12 years, Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index grew 3%.”

La Fortaleza referred the inquiry to corroborate the data and for questions related to Rosselló-Nevares’ statement to the Economic Development Bank (EDB), after warning that the governor “offers the figures reported by his agency heads.”

EDB Economist Gladys Medina-Claudio said Puerto Rico’s Economic Activity Index did not show a monthly interannual growth of 3% since February 2004, nor did it reflect year-over-year growth of more than 3% since 1999. To reach that interannual rate, the value of a month of the year in question is compared with the value of the same month of the prior year. “It was not until 2018 that the values surpassed 3%. Now [in 2019] it reached 3.2%,” said Medina-Claudio. However, when asked how the 3.2% increase was calculated, the EDB economist answered that an average for 2018 was used and compared with the 2017 average.

Economic development scarce for P.R.’s micro and small entrepreneurs

“To avoid a headache,” Wilfredo Cubero hired a professional authorized by the Permit Management Office (PMO) to get the Use Permit for his business Piu Bello Gelato, located in Plaza del Sol mall in Bayamón. His biggest setback at the moment is that he still does not have the sanitary license required for all food businesses, because a Health Department inspector has yet to visit his place to do the mandatory inspection. Cubero submitted the application for the sanitary license on Oct. 23, 2018 and it was not until five months later that a Health Department inspector reached out to him for the inspection. At that time, the inspection could not be done because the area where the business is located in the shopping center was closed for remodeling.