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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Justice secretary washes his hands of Sol y Playa condo case

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández

By The Star Staff

Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández dissociated himself on Tuesday from the controversy generated between two Aguadilla Court judges over the order of imprisonment for contempt issued against former Mayagüez judge María Isabel Negrón García, who heads the owners board of the Sol y Playa Condominium in Rincón.

“The Department of Justice is not going to intervene in the civil case between the [Puerto Rico] Planning Board and the Sol y Playa Condominium, which is being debated in the Aguadilla Court …,” Emanuelli Hernández said in a written statement. “The Department of Justice and the courts belong to different and independent branches of the Government of Puerto Rico. The judges and the Courts Administration Office adhere to the Judicial Branch of the Government of Puerto Rico and are not part of the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice belongs to the Executive Branch of the Government of Puerto Rico.”

Judge Abid Quiñones Portalatín decided on Monday to order Negrón García to prison for contempt over her failure to act on a demolition order applying to the condo’s controversial recreation area.

“The situation has reached its limit and I cannot allow this sentence to continue to be postponed …,” Quiñones Portalatín said at the start of Monday’s hearing.

“I am going to declare in contempt the [board] president of the Sol y Playa condominium,” the judge continued. “Your incarceration will be ordered today. Once the demolition begins, the court will order the president’s release.”

“If the order is complied with this afternoon, then I will order the discharge,” he added. “If it is fulfilled tomorrow, I will order it tomorrow; it’s as clear as that.”

For her part, Negrón García tried to persuade the judge to revoke his decision, arguing that since she assumed leadership of the condo board, she has managed the start of the demolition work. However, she noted that 50 percent of the condominium does not want to comply with the court’s order.

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