A Puerto Rican businessman spent over $1 million to ensure that a Financial Control Board will operate the island’s economy.
He lives in Puerto Rico. He makes millions in Puerto Rico. He wants a Control Board for one simple reason: because he owns $23 million in Puerto Rico bonds.
A LOBBYING GIANT
In 2015, “Empresas Fonalledas” spent $545,000 on lobbyists, to block any Chapter 9 bankruptcy access for Puerto Rico.
In 2016, Empresas Fonalledas spent another $340,000 to block Chapter 9, and to promote a Financial Control Board.
In 2016 alone, these were the 16 lobbying expenses of Empresas Fonalledas in Washington, D.C.
All 16 were devoted to blocking Chapter 9 bankruptcy, promoting PROMESA, and pushing the Financial Control Board.
From 2010 through 2016, the Fonalledas family gave $135,000 to several GOP campaign committees. Here are some of those contributions. They include Rep. Raul Labrador and Rep. Sean Duffy, two principal advocates for the PROMESA legislation:
But wait, there’s more…
In 2010, the year of the Citizens United decision, Empresas Fonalledas lobbying reached an all-time high – over $1 million – and it has hovered near that level ever since.
Over the past 8 years, Empresas Fonalledas has spent over $6 million on Washington, D.C. lobbying.
Six million dollars buys a lot of friends in Washington, D.C.
Millions of dollars devoted to one specific issue – bringing a Financial Control Board to Puerto Rico – buys action on that issue.
I’m sorry, haven’t you heard?
Ever since the Citizens United decision, that’s the rule in Washington…you get what you pay for.
SHOWING UP IN PERSON
The Fonalledas also provide physical support. They show up in person.
Here is the Puerto Rico delegation to the Trump / GOP convention on July 18, 2016:
Prominent in this photo are:
Jaime Fonalledas – President and CEO of Empresas Fonalledas Inc., which owns Plaza Las Américas.
Zoaraida Fonalledas – Wife of Jaime Fonalledas. National Committeewoman of the Puerto Rico Republican Party, Puerto Rico campaign chair of the 2012 Mitt Romney campaign
Ricardo Aponte Parsi – general counsel, Empresas Fonalledas, Inc.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS
In the end, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Jaime Fonalledas owns Plaza Las Américas: the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean, and the second-largest in all of Latin America.
He also has holdings in dairy cattle operations, non-dairy food industries, milk processing plants, plastics manufacturing, real estate ventures, and banking operations.
He also bought $23 million worth of triple-tax exempt Puerto Rico bonds.
If Puerto Rico acquired Chapter 9 bankruptcy powers, Fonalledas might lose his entire investment…so he spent $1 million in Washington, to protect $23 million in Puerto Rico.
If this means closing more schools and hospitals, eliminating pensions, raising the PREPA electric rates, demanding an 11.5% sales tax, and lobbying for a Financial Control Board, then so be it.
Fonalledas is a businessman.
He will leave a billion-dollar business empire for his children.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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