• The San Juan Daily Star

Arecibo mayor to predecessor: Where’d you put the $4.6 million from insurers?

Arecibo Mayor Carlos “Tito” Ramírez

By John McPhaul

Arecibo Mayor Carlos “Tito” Ramírez demanded on Monday, that former Mayor Carlos Molina explain why if the municipality received $5 million from insurers after the impact of Hurricane Maria on the island, only $400,000 is registered.

“The destination of that $4.6 million is the big question that all Arecibo people have to ask themselves,” Ramírez said in a written statement. “The answer has to be produced by Carlos Molina. In fact, here in the Municipality of Arecibo there was not even a Planning Office. We have had to build it from scratch.”

The mayor said the municipal government transition in Arecibo was so deficient on the part of the outgoing administration that documents and information have been discovered over the months that point to a serious dislocation between what was reported in the transition hearings and what really existed at the administrative level.

“What we found here was a real administrative and financial disaster that will take years to rectify,” the mayor said.

Ramírez said that in just three years, Molina doubled the fiscal deficit, while signing contracts without having the budget for them.

“Here, disbursement vouchers were not prepared, nor were checks issued in some accounts recorded, among other indications revealed by an audit by the Comptroller’s Office,” the mayor said. “For fiscal year 2016-2017, the accumulated deficit was $12,918,835.”

“It is important for people to know that in Carlos Molina’s eight years a property inventory was never taken,” Ramírez said. “The last property inventory was in 2011, the Comptroller’s audit found. If that was with the existing inventory, imagine what happened to the $4.6 million that is missing from the insurance companies.”

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