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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Ponce mayor says he won’t resign after loan accusations

Ponce Mayor Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón

By The Star Staff

Ponce Mayor Luis Manuel Irizarry Pabón said Monday that he will not resign after accusations stemming from an alleged investigation by the Department of Justice into a loan attributed to his campaign being paid by trust employees.

“In October, the Department of Justice asked the municipality for information, some files of some employees. The mayor announced it and said that we will be cooperating in any kind of investigation and so far we have done so,” Irizarry Pabón said in a radio interview. “I’m definitely not going to answer conjectures, rumors, gossip, of people we know were with me and they know why they’re gone, and of political adversaries. They don’t have the votes and they want to smear, and they want to attack this mayor. I am not going to answer allegations that I do not have knowledge of and that the Department of Justice has not notified this mayor of anything else.”

“Given these anonymous allegations, which lend themselves to damaging reputations, I will not answer until … Justice determines if there is a direct investigation against this person,” he added. “People know me, they know the adversary, people know the people I had to throw out of my [municipal] cabinet who were not doing the job and were performing tricks.”

“The trickster does not fit within my working group. But that’s another song,” the mayor continued. “We are going to respect the law and we are going to comply with it.”

Irizarry Pabón said he will not resign as mayor after allegations revealed Friday night by a local daily newspaper.

The report said Irizarry Pabón allegedly ordered trust employees to repay a $50,000 loan, according to the newspaper’s sources.

After the publication of the alleged investigation, the New Progressive Party mayoral hopeful in Ponce, Pablo Colón Santiago, has repeatedly called for the mayor’s resignation. Colón Santiago was the campaign director for former Ponce mayor and current statehood lobbyist María “Mayita” Meléndez Altieri.

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