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Puerto Rico Prosecutor to be Ousted by DOJ

The DOJ, and the FBI, and the White House all want this woman out of her job. The report suggests corruption is the reason. Unfortunately, reporting on this topic is way too limited, leaving us only tidbits like this to suggest the mess seething under the surface in Puerto Rico:

The Justice Department is attempting to replace the top federal prosecutor in Puerto Rico, who has been quietly campaigning to keep her job, according to people familiar with the matter.

The White House also supports replacing Ms. Rodríguez-Vélez, a person familiar with the matter said. U.S. attorneys, while somewhat autonomous, do take direction from Justice Department headquarters on prosecutorial priorities. A White House spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Efforts to replace Ms. Rodríguez-Vélez coincide with rising concerns from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s San Juan field office and other federal authorities about potential fraud and corruption in Puerto Rico’s public contracting, according to people familiar with the matter. The FBI views public corruption as a potentially growing problem in Puerto Rico, fueled by billions of dollars in disaster-recovery spending following last year’s devastating hurricane season, these people said.

Allegations of crime and corruption began surfacing as Puerto Rico started digging out from the storms, which destroyed the island’s power grid and displaced thousands of residents. Mr. Leff said in October that the FBI had received complaints of alleged thefts of emergency relief supplies by municipal officials and was “working to quickly determine any basis for criminal charges.”

The FBI also opened a probe into a $300 million power grid construction contract awarded shortly after Hurricane Maria. A congressional committee with jurisdiction over the U.S. territories is investigating anticorruption safeguards at the public electric monopoly, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, and alleged hoarding of utility supplies.

She is slated to testify in a former subordinate’s discrimination and retaliation trial against her office that began on Monday, according to court documents. The plaintiff, former intelligence specialist Francisco Reyes Caparrós, filed a lawsuit in 2015 alleging that Ms. Rodríguez-Vélez and others stripped him of his normal job duties after he complained about having to run personal errands for his superiors. Her office has denied wrongdoing and said the plaintiff resigned after several internal reprimands.

It’s nice to see the FBI actually doing its job for once. Hopefully we will see some kind of cleanup forced on the Puerto Rican government.

 
Doomberg

Written by Doomberg

I am Doomberg, one of the original founding members of Sparta Report, and have been here since the beginning. I am an insatiable news junkie and enjoy reading and writing about the US territories, the Caribbean, video games, smartphones, and of course conservative politics in general.

I also really like pictures of gas stations and claim full responsibility for the silly gas station motif. I'm presently trapped behind enemy lines in a blue state with no hope of escape! The ride never ends.

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