Trump appears vindicated on San Juan corruption accusation as FBI raids municipal buildings, city council

Despite criticism leveled at him for pointing it out, President Trump turned out to be right about the corruption in Puerto Rico.

Trump slammed Puerto Rican officials including Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz a few weeks ago for the slow recovery efforts on the island following last year’s Hurricane Maria, blaming rampant corruption for the failure to adequately respond to the storm’s destruction.

(Image: screenshot)

Cruz repeatedly blasted Trump for allegedly turning his back on the people of Puerto Rico, leveling the blame for lack of supplies and speedy response at the president’s feet.

But on Tuesday morning, the FBI focused in on Cruz and her administration, raiding San Juan’s municipal building for suspected corruption in the purchasing department, Fox News reported.

Local journalist Luis Guardiola posted video on Twitter showing uniformed FBI agents walking into the building Tuesday.

“Dozens of FBI agents occupy the 15th floor of the Municipal tower. That’s how the feds arrived this morning,” the translated tweet read.

Translated: “Now: The FBI raided the municipal tower of San Juan, the main headquarters of the city’s municipal government. Conducts research on allegations of favoritism in the purchasing department of the city Council.”

The mayor and her administration have come under fire for allegedly obstructing much-needed supplies for victims of the category-4 hurricane, even as she publicly blamed the failure on Trump. A former employee reported alleged favoritism within the purchasing department for a company that bid on the city’s projects.

Yadira Molina, the former director of procurement, claims that after she reported “alleged irregular acts” to the local comptroller, she faced retaliation. She filed a lawsuit in February, sparking the FBI investigation.

“On February 21, Molina sued the city council after reporting alleged acts of corruption in the shopping division in the town hall under the administration of Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto,” according to El Vocero de Puerto Rico.

Fox News reported:

The report says Molina claims she was punished for reporting on the allegedly rigged system and that she was blocked from her right “to report wrongdoing in her capacity as a private citizen, not as a public employee.”

Shortly after Cruz became mayor, Molina claims a supply company was granted “preferred supplier” status which paid them more than three times what regular suppliers made. She also alleges that other city officials engaged in a corrupt scheme to steer business the preferred supplier’s way.

 

The city contracted for $4.7 million over two years with the company BR Solutions, which is owned by Puerto Rican businessman Leonel Pereira O’Neill who reportedly has donated to the campaigns of local politicians, including that of Cruz, according to news service elnuevodia.com, The Hill reported.

“The raid helps us to confirm whether the allegations of irregularities are substantiated or not,” FBI spokesman Carlos Osario told the outlet. “We are filling out a search warrant, looking for documents and evidence that can support the allegation [of favoritism].”

The mayor responded in a series of tweets in Spanish on Tuesday.

“At the moment, members of the FBI are intervening in the Municipal Tower of San Juan. My instructions as always are of total collaboration,” Cruz wrote.

“At this time, I do not have more information. We all have the duty to collaborate to clarify this situation. If someone has done something wrong, must be subjected to a due process and face the consequences of their actions, ” she added.

“It was a total mess, it was corrupt — couldn’t be worse,” Trump said in an interview last month. “The storms hit and they said, ‘Oh let’s blame Trump for the electric, let’s have Trump — let’s have Trump fix the electric plant,’ which takes a long time to rebuild it, which is a big deal.”

Residents have been frustrated with Cruz for some time now, accusing her of forgetting her duties in the quest for personal gain and publicity.

“She comes out, goes on television and pats herself on the back,”  San Juan small business owner, Simon Menendez, told Fox News. “It stopped being about us a long time ago.”

The Trump-bashing liberal mayor became a media darling making dozens of television appearnces where she continued to attack the president. Her antics lead to an appearance on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert and earned her an invitation to the State of the Union from New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

All the attention and accolades, including being featured as one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2018 have come as Cruz has apparently allowed the corruption in her own administration get in the way of helping the very people she was elected to represent.

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