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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Electoral comptroller to make public evidence of illegal contributions

By The Star Staff

Electoral Comptroller Walter Vélez Martínez says that in the coming weeks he will present the evidence his office has compiled during an investigation related to the testimony of businessman Oscar Santamaría and his alleged illegal contributions to electoral campaigns in San Juan and other municipalities.

The Electoral Comptroller’s Office analyzes the evidence to determine whether to issue administrative fines, send referrals to agencies or declare that the office did not find law violations.

Vélez said this week that his office had concluded the investigation stage.

“Now, we are evaluating the collected evidence,” he said in an interview with Radio Isla.

Santamaría, a businessman and lawyer, testified under oath during the trial of convicted former Guaynabo mayor Ángel Pérez Otero that he made illegal political contributions to Miguel Romero Lugo’s campaign for mayor of San Juan in the 2020 elections. He said he made contributions of $10,000 and $50,000 to Romero’s campaign as he was trying to get contracts for his solid waste disposal firm.

San Juan Municipal Assemblyman Manuel Calderón Cerame filed a complaint in March asking the Department of Justice to take notice of the testimony of Santamaría and refer it to the Public Integrity Division.

Santamaría, who cooperated with federal authorities in exchange for a lesser sentence, said he also made cash contributions to the political campaigns of Rep. José Enrique “Quiquito” Meléndez Ortiz and at least 15 mayors. He also allegedly gave $50,000 to the campaign of Ponce Mayor Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón.

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