The San Juan Daily Star
PRIDCO is focus of proposed investigation
Rep. José “Conny” Varela Fernández
By THE STAR STAFF
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives José “Conny” Varela Fernández, along with Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez and Rep. Jessie Cortés Ramos, introduced House Resolution 913 on Wednesday to investigate the economic situation of the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (PRIDCO), as well as the processes for privatizing its administration and the claims presented by its creditors, among other topics.
Through Law 141-2018, most of the economic development functions previously assigned to PRIDCO were reassigned to the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym).
Since then, PRIDCO’s role has been limited exclusively to managing the company’s buildings and land, which it does with employees assigned to DDEC.
Last November, PRIDCO began a process of requesting proposals for the privatization of property management, which is in process.
Meanwhile, on Jan. 19, Goldentree Asset Management, the creditor of the vast majority of PRIDCO’s debt, sued PRIDCO along with the Financial Oversight and Management Board and the Fiscal Agency Financial Advisory Authority, requesting that PRIDCO be ordered to pay the outstanding amounts and a trustee be appointed to take charge of the public corporation’s properties, among other remedies.
“Both the possible privatization of the administration of PRIDCO’s assets and the lawsuit initiated by Goldentree are issues that can have serious consequences as to the future of the assets that the people of Puerto Rico have built and developed through decades of effort,” Caguas District Rep. Varela said.
“On privatization, it is necessary to ask whether it is convenient to follow PRIDCO’s proposal or instead consider a restructuring of all those agencies responsible for managing real estate owned by the people of Puerto Rico,” he said. “In Goldentree’s lawsuit, very serious questions are raised about the way in which the company has been managed, and about the validity of the laws that established the moratorium on the payment of bondholders, and the transfer of PREPA employees who did not go to [private electrical grid operator] LUMA [Energy]. Therefore, it is necessary and urgent that the Chamber evaluate these processes.”