Report: Fiscal board invests more than expected in consultancies
By The Star Staff
The Financial Oversight and Management Board spent $1.5 billion on consultancies from 2017 to 2023, exceeding congressional estimates in 2016, a report by Espacios Abiertos revealed on Tuesday.
“The people of Puerto Rico have paid the consultants and advisors of the Board,” Espacios Abiertos Executive Director Cecille Blondet said in a written statement, while reiterating the demand that the requested information be published.
“In its most recent annual report, the Board does not detail who has paid 40 percent of almost $300 million that it has disbursed to consultants,” said Wilmarí de Jesús Álvarez, who authored the report.
The investigation, entitled “Their Advisers, Your Money,” seeks to make transparent the expenses in professional advice required by the oversight board and the federal court. The report highlights a total expense as of June 18 of this year of $1,500,353,160.07.
The data obtained from the court detail disbursements to consultants, advisers and lawyers by case, with the central government being the one that spends the most, at 72.98%. The highest expense among the categories corresponds to legal services, at 44.2%.
In addition, the investigation highlights invoices submitted by the consultants to the court for a total of $1,220,029,476. However, the Official Examiner recommended the disbursement of $1,192,798,602; that is, 2.2% less than what was invoiced.