Early Tuesday morning, the FBI raided government offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, including offices under the direct control of of San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yelin Cruz, looking for evidence to substantiate allegations of “corruption” within San Juan’s city government.
Cruz, of course, is the outspoken San Juan mayor who appeared regularly on television during and after Hurricane Maria last year, blaming the Trump administration for failing to address the situation in Puerto Rico. Cruz even donned a “Nasty Woman” shirt in one interview.
She’s recently been making the rounds on late night television on the mainland, appearing on Stephen Colbert’s show to discuss (and condemn) the Trump administration’s hurricane response.
But, as administration officials — including President Donald Trump — have pointed out, many of the problems rescuers faced were the result of local failures, including a lack of infrastructure, government favoritism, and rampant corruption. Cruz and others are alleged to have hampered, and occasionally blocked, the distribution of much-needed supplies to Puerto Ricans without food, water, medicine, or electricity.
And now, it seems, the FBI is trying to get to the bottom of exactly what’s going on in San Juan.
NBC News reports that “FBI agents were seen raiding an office on the 15th and 14th floor of Torre Municipal de San Juan, according to authorities. The operation was related to suspected corruption in the purchasing department.”
“We are seeking documents and evidence that support this allegation,” an FBI spokesman told reporters, according to NBC. “This search will help us confirm if allegations are true or not. We will look through every document, bill, email … anything that will let us clarify the claims.”
Cruz commented on the raid on Twitter, pledging her “total collaboration” with the FBI’s investigation: “If someone has done something wrong, they should be subjected to due process and face the consequences of their actions.”
That might include Cruz. Fox News reports that the FBI’s investigation centers around whether Cruz and allies in the San Juan city government handed city business — and city money — to preferred companies, many of whom allegedly charged the city thousands more than other suppliers.
Cruz’s former director of procurement, Yadira Molina, apparently blew the whistle on her own offices — and her boss, Mayor Cruz — last February reporting ““alleged irregular acts” to a local comptroller. Molina told officials that “a supply company was granted ‘preferred supplier’ status which paid them more than three times what regular suppliers made,” and that Cruz may have been responsible for inking the deal.