Puerto Rico city offices raided for corruption, and why is San Juan’s mouthy mayor sounding so bland?
In Puerto Rico, municipal offices not far from San Juan’s mayor were raided by dozens of FBI agents yesterday, with lawmen looking for evidence of fixed contracts and falsified documents. An FBI spokesman told the Washington Examiner the operation was “pretty big” and the tips came from disgusted insiders.
According to the Examiner:
Agents were seen entering the Municipal Tower with dozens of empty boxes. The federal agents deployed to the third, fourth, 14th, and 15th floors of the 16-floor building, Osorio said. They were looking for any paper and electronic documents related to “corruption” inside the city administration’s purchasing and contracting departments.
This, in light of the island’s bankruptcy, wasted hurricane aid, and other evidence of fiscal mismanagement, is telling.
San Juan’s obnoxious mayor, Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, whose office wasn’t raided but who runs the Centro de Gobierno municipal operation as the city’s top official, is the lefty mayor who tried to make so much political hay against President Trump during Hurricane Maria by accusing Trump’s his relief effort of being intentionally incompetent and racist. Speaking to the cameras, Cruz said:
We are dying here and I cannot fathom the thought that the greatest nation in the world cannot figure out logistics for a small island of 100 miles by 35 miles long[.] … People are drinking off a creek. So I am done being polite. I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell[.] … So I am asking the members of the press, to send a mayday call all over the world. We are dying here[.] … And if it doesn’t stop, and if we don’t get the food and the water into people’s hands, what we are going to see is something close to a genocide.
It was a page drawn straight out of the Democratic Party’s playbook – a bid to paint the Hurricane Maria aid effort as President Trump’s “Katrina.” The Democrats have a lot of playbook moves they try to play over and over again – the Kavanaugh show, the kids at the border – and Katrina is one of their favorites.
As she yelled and made political hay for the Democrats, the aid sat in the docks undelivered, and the news stories are still dribbling out about Cruz’s own incompetence and uncooperativeness in the delivery of aid.
According to Wikipedia, citing press reports, this is how she acted:
Speaking on Fox News, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Brock Long responded to Cruz’s remarks saying that unity of command was the main thing needed for the relief effort to be successful, and suggested the mayor needed to go to the joint field office and “get plugged in”. Angel Perez Otero, mayor of Guaynabo, a neighboring city to San Juan, stated that his experience with that agency had been very good and criticized Cruz for not participating in meetings with them and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Responding to her statements, President Trump tweeted, “The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump. Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan and others in Puerto Rico who are not able to get their workers to help.”
In short, obstinate, obnoxious, incompetent, and unhelpful.
Now the city government’s office has been raided for fraud and corruption in that “pretty big” operation, and Cruz is singing a different tune. Instead of yelling, she’s talking cooperating. She’s, as the FBI would colloquially say, “being good.” According to the Examiner:
Cruz issued a statement on Twitter Tuesday morning saying all parties should cooperate with one another.
“At this time, members of the FBI are intervening in the Municipal Tower of SJ. My instructions as always are of total collaboration,” Cruz wrote, according to an unofficial translation. “I have no more information right now. We all have a duty to work together to clarify this situation.”
“If someone has done something wrong, they must be subjected to due process and face the consequences of their actions,” she added.
Why the disparity? Why the nicey-nice and the rule of law, after all that hullaballoo earlier?
Two things could be happening here. Either she realizes she made an ass of herself during Hurricane Maria and now recognizes the importance of cooperating with federal authorities or, for those less inclined to be sympathetic, she’s sounding those cooperative notes because she doesn’t want too much attention to her own activities, too much trouble, much as President Trump suggested in his warnings about corruption in his tweets, and she knows she could easily get some, perhaps be implicated in the raids.
She’s lying low right now and sounding dulcet, no doubt on political calculations. One wonders what big thing she might as a result be seeing coming down the pike.