CVM lawmaker submits her financial report to House Ethics Committee
By Pedro Correa Henry
Special to The Star
Accused by the New Progressive Party (NPP) legislative delegation of holding properties in Palmas del Mar in Humacao and administrative posts at non-profit organizations, Citizens’ Victory Movement (CVM) Rep. Mariana Nogales Molinelli confirmed Wednesday that she has asked House Speaker Rafael Hernández Montañez to refer her financial report to the lower chamber’s Ethics Committee.
In a letter filed Sept. 15 to Hernández Montañez, Nogales Molinelli said she has made the request to “debunk unfounded insinuations and attacks that the NPP leadership has launched against me.”
The controversy arose when Noticel reported that the legislator has since 2004 been incorporated as president and treasurer of Ocean Front Villas Corp., a real estate company run by her mother. The lawmaker has reiterated that she has never drawn any income from the venture.
“I don’t generate anything from those properties,” she noted. “In administrative terms, I have never participated in this.”
Moreover, she said the apartments did not have any tax exemptions from the Municipal Revenue Collections Center as they are not registered as main estates.
She also clarified to the press she did not include her positions in various corporations, including non-profit organizations such as the Greater Caribbean for Life, an international anti-death penalty coalition, the Puerto Rican Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the Solidarity Legal Brigade due to “neglect.”
“In the report, what is stated there is nothing more than the truth, the fact that some information has been missing and that it is necessary to supply more, is a common procedure,” she said. “When you look at the Ethics form, not the financial statement because it is complete, but nevertheless, there are some questions that you have to answer and, in that question, it said: ‘Indicate which government positions or positions you have held,’ and as I have not held any, I put ‘not applicable’, and that is why I did not notice it.”
“This is not lying, it is not hiding information, on the contrary. It is an oversight,” Nogales Molinelli added. “Now you have to be more careful when you are in the wolves’ sight.”
Moreover, she said she would be resigning from her job posts to prevent further controversies and misunderstandings.
“The work that I have at the House of Representatives takes me all day, and to have any outcome from this, I have to work all day as a lawmaker,” she said. “Usually, I have to make two or three clones as the number of public hearings one must participate in simultaneously prevents me from fulfilling my work to the fullest.”
“Nonetheless, we do our best with what we have,” the attorney added.
When asked about the differences between her Palmas del Mar estates and the Sol y Playa condominium as NPP Senate spokesperson Thomas Rivera Schatz accused the CVM lawmaker on various outlets of being inconsistent with her environmentally focused discourse for having properties in an alleged maritime-terrestrial zone, she claimed the estates, which extend from Humacao to Yabucoa, were built around 1970 and 1980, “in a zone that is not maritime-terrestrial.”
“If we look at the Sol y Playa condominium, the condominium is not in a maritime-terrestrial zone, the dispute here is with the pool construction, which we [the CVM] believe is indeed being built in such a zone, which is something that both the Department of Natural Resources and the Planning Board must clarify,” she said.
Nogales Molinelli was accompanied by her fellow delegation members, Rep. José Bernardo Márquez and Sens. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén and Rafael Bernabe.
“The CVM is not afraid, comrade Mariana is not afraid, and the CVM is here to continue doing whatever it has to do to continue protecting the environment,” Rivera Lassén said.