FBI raids another NPP lawmaker’s home
By John McPhaul
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents raided the residence of New Progressive Party (NPP) Rep. Nelson del Valle Colón on Monday, a source confirmed to CyberNews.
“Our agents are today conducting investigative activity at a residence in Toa Alta,” an FBI spokesperson said in a radio interview Monday. “As you know, our policy is not to confirm or deny the existence of investigations, so we have no [further] comment.”
On July 15, the FBI raided the Río Grande home of NPP Rep. María Milagros “Tata” Charbonier. The agents seized Charbonier’s cell phone and that of the legislator’s husband.
It is unknown if there is a relationship between the investigations of Charbonier and del Valle Colón, or if either or both is connected with the issue of “ghost employees.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives Carlos “Johnny’” Méndez Núñez said he is cooperating with federal and commonwealth investigative agencies in del Valle Colón’s case.
“The House of Representatives that I am honored to preside over has a commitment to transparency and good management of government resources,” Méndez Núñez in a written statement. “We have cooperated at all times with federal and state authorities; we will continue doing so. My call today, as it has been in the past, is for total and absolute cooperation with entities of law and order.”
“I reiterate my position that all members of this House of Representatives have a duty to the people to assume conduct based on law and regulations,” the House speaker added. “I will never depart from that principle, taking actions proactively to guarantee the confidence of the people in their public servants.”
A source confirmed to CyberNews that the FBI seized a cellular telephone from del Valle Colón, who was elected to a House seat in 2004, which he held until 2008, according to his biography. He returned to the Legislature in 2016 as the representative of District 9, which includes the municipalities of Toa Alta and Bayamón.
Del Valle Colón currently chairs the Small and Midsize Business and Commerce Committee. In addition, he’s a member of the Municipal Affairs, Cooperativism, Transportation and Infrastructure, Recreation and Sports, and Housing committees.
Popular Democratic Party Minority Leader Rep. Rafael “Tatito” Hernández called on Méndez Núñez to make public the relationship between representatives, House advisers and contractors.
“Your honor is the administrator of the House of Representatives and as speaker, you must, without delay, give satisfactory explanations of processes and contracts,” Hernández said. “I ask you in the name of the Popular Democratic Party delegation, of which I am the leader, to immediately [make public the circumstances of the investigation] with the goal of safeguarding before the eyes of the Puerto Rican people the good name of the House of Representatives.”