When the Financial Control Board (FCB) hits Puerto Rico in a few weeks, it will immediately move to “privatize” major pieces of Puerto Rico. This will include the electrical grid (PREPA), the water supply (PRASA), several beaches and highways, and the public school system.
The governor and legislature of Puerto Rico will be powerless to stop it.
In fact, several key politicians are already HELPING the FCB to develop its privatization plans for Puerto Rico…
WHO BROUGHT THE P3s TO PUERTO RICO?
P3s are Public-Private Partnerships. During his one term as governor (2009-2013), Luis Fortuño opened up the island to P3s.
Fortuño campaigning for Mitt Romney in 2012
Within five months of taking office, Fortuño passed Public Act 29 in June 2009.
This was the “public-private partnership” law which created the Public-Private Partnership Authority of Puerto Rico.
Fortuño then created P3s for two highways (PR-5, PR-22); a P3 for the Luis Muñoz Marín Airport; several P3s for a number of schools, energy projects, ferry services, and a P3 renewal of terms for the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge.
An audit of many P3s created during the administration of ex-Governor Luis Fortuño, showed no evidence of a bidding or selection process. In other words, all the projects were simply handed to people or organizations, that were connected to the ex-governor himself.
PR Highway 22 was given to the Goldman Sachs investment Bank. “Escuelas Para el Siglo 21” received $756 million with no public bidding.
The Luís Muñoz Marín Airport went to a syndicate headed by GAS, a Mexican firm associated with Carlos Slim. For five years, Carlos Slim and the LMM Airport did not pay its electrical bill to PREPA, until it rose to nearly $30 million.
Carlos Slim, the fourth-richest man in the world
Here is the report on the “Public-Private Partnership” audit, which investigated the secret “no-bidding” selection, of many other P3 projects throughout the island:
This investigation is part of a larger and ongoing question, regarding who received $9 billion (nine billion dollars) in “private no-bid contracts” during the Fortuño administration.
As a partner in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, Fortuño is now a “P3 Consultant” for companies looking to privatize in Puerto Rico.
Fortuño’s bio page at Steptoe & Johnson trumpets his “signature public-private partnerships law, which paved the way for two of the largest recent infrastructure investments in the US: one in Puerto Rico’s highway system and the other in island’s main international airport. Other P3 transactions during his tenure included schools, energy projects and ferry services.”
Amongst the recent speeches listed on Fortuño’s bio page, are six speeches in support of P3s in Puerto Rico…including these two:
“Public-Private Partnerships: Stories of Success,” Georgetown University’s Baker Center for Leadership & Governance, April 18, 2016
Keynote speaker, “Public-Private Partnerships in Puerto Rico,” Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s Annual Transportation Finance and Mileage-Based User Fee Symposium, April 15, 2013
PIERLUISI’S WIFE CASHES IN
Pedro Pierluisi’s family net worth has increased 2,700% since he became Resident Commissioner in 2008.
This comes mostly through his wife, María Elena Carrión.
Within two weeks of Pierluisi taking office, his wife Maria quickly set up a “financial advisory firm” named Multicultural Capital.
The “P3 Consultant” who lobbies her own husband Pedro Pierluisi, on behalf of hedge funds
The principal clients of this “advisory firm” are the hedge funds and P3s (public-private partnerships) that will be doing business with the Financial Control Board.
The fees they’ve paid to this firm, are already in the millions.
GARCIA PADILLA GETS INTO THE GAME
Three weeks ago, on June 24, Gov. Garcia Padilla got into the privatization game.
He had Rep. Angel Matos Garcia (PPD – Carolina) submit a bill on the last day of session (June 24) which would have created a “Fideicomiso” with the authority to grant private franchises and concessions in all the public beaches of Puerto Rico.
In effect, this would have made the public beaches eligible for “privatization,” all over the island.
The PPD rammed it through the Camara de Representantes, with an astonishing majority vote of 44-1. The public outcry was so immediate and overwhelming, that the bill was not introduced into the Senate the following day.
But Garcia Padilla and the PPD had already accomplished their objective: they opened the door for the FCB to pursue “beach privatization,” now that Puerto Rico’s own elected officials have put them in play…by a vote of 44-1.
In addition, Garcia Padilla indicated that he may call an “extraordinary legislative session” over the next few weeks, which could take up “unfinished business.” This business could include the beaches of Puerto Rico.
GARCIA PADILLA’S BROTHER GETS INTO THE GAME, TOO
Gov. Garcia-Padilla set up his own brother, Antonio Garcia-Padilla, in a “non-profit” called Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País. This “non-profit” creates “strategic partnerships” in Puerto Rico for US billionaire Nicholas Prouty, USB Bank, Salomon Brothers, and various other hedge funds.
Just like Luis Fortuño and Pedro Pierluisi’s wife, Antonio Garcia-Padilla advises them on how to set up tax-free corporations, to make money off Puerto Rico.
In fact, both Prouty and Goldman Sachs are on the “non-profit” Board of Directors, and paying the “non-profit’s” rent.
ROBBING PUERTO RICO WITH A BRIEFCASE
Over the past few weeks, the FBI and US Attorney’s Office have told the people of Puerto Rico to “remain calm” and to “report any suspicious activity.”
The FBI even expressed a concern over “ISIS terrorists” in Puerto Rico.
But the only “suspicious activity” has been the attempted theft of Puerto Rico’s beaches…and the jockeying for position amongst Puerto Rico’s political class, to enter into “strategic partnerships” with hedge funds and US billionaires.
The only “terrorism” in sight, is the potential fumigation of the entire island with NALED.
It remains to be seen, whether the Financial Control Board will also act a terrorist…blowing up schools, hospitals, jobs, pensions…hijacking the electrical grid and water supply…lowering the minimum wage to $4.25…privatizing the entire island…all in the name of “helping Puerto Rico.”
These days, it seems that you can rob Puerto Rico with a briefcase, strangle it with a political party, condemn it with a press conference, and kill it with a PROMESA.