House Health Committee to 313 LLC: See you back in court
By The Star Staff
Rep. Juan Oscar Morales Rodríguez, who chairs the Health Committee in the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, announced on Monday that he will go to court over what he described as “obstruction” on the part of attorney Ricardo Vázquez Hernández, who is the president of a company called 313 LLC, when evading questions during an investigation into the island Health Department’s acquisition of tests for the detection of COVID-19.
“It seems to me that this deponent this morning has not cooperated in the investigative process, and for us it is very important to know what the acquisition price of these tests was and how much they finally sold for to the people of Puerto Rico,” the legislator said in a written communication. “I believe that this must be public and should not be hidden from the people.” Morales Rodríguez noted that Vázquez Hernández ap- peared only after being taken to court by the committee, under threat of contempt. Among the documents the committee requests is the “copy of the invoices issued by this company; it is important for us to know what the acquisition price was versus the sale price to the Government of Puerto Rico,” Mo-
rales Rodríguez said.
“During the interrogation, which was characterized by evasions by the deponent, alleging that the questions were not relevant to the legislative investigation, Vázquez Hernández did indicate that the Health Department, specifically Adil Rosa, contacted them, after communicating with the company Zogen Genetics, of which 313 is the representative on the island, for the acquisition of rapid tests,” Morales Rodríguez said. “According to the witness, the agency made a first order, for 1,500 [units], which were paid at $45 each, and another order, for a total of 100,000 additional tests, which were paid in full for a total of $3.6 million. However, claiming that not only was it not pertinent to the investigation, but that it was a ‘business secret,’ Vázquez Hernández repeatedly refused to offer the information about the price that 313 LLC paid Zogen, for testing.”
Morales Rodríguez said the committee will evaluate all the questions that the deponent refused to answer, such as his links with other companies, among which the name of Vertical Consulting came up, whose email was used to send the quotes to the Health Department, according to documents held by the committee.
Given this, the committee chairman pointed out that it is necessary to know the participation of this and other companies in which Vázquez Hernández apparently appears as a resident agent, among which Galaxy Games was mentioned.
“We are going to evaluate all the questions that this de- ponent avoided answering, because it seems to us that it is an obstruction of the investigation that is being conducted by this House of Representatives,” Morales Rodríguez said.
The legislator said the interrogation was a frustrating one “not only for me, but for the people of Puerto Rico, which should not only cause frustration, but also indignation, that a person who was awarded $3.6 million in public funds would come here to try to obstruct and not provide information that I believe is public.”
“It is worrisome that merchants who have benefited from this emergency have assumed the conduct that this gentleman has assumed today,” Morales Rodríguez said.
He also pointed out that the lack of responses from the 313 LLC president does not paralyze the filing this week of the report on the investigation and if the court so determines, they will again summon the deponent to offer all details of the transaction.