June 11, 2021

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Witness details Sandra Torres’ requests to sell lockers for Ricardo Rosselló’s campaign

Exel López, who served as a public relations officer in the Telecommunications Bureau, detailed today the instances in which Sandra Torres, former president of said agency, required him to sell lockers for a collection activity for the re-election campaign of then-Governor Ricardo Rosselló for hours working days.

López’s statements were raised today during a preliminary hearing in the San Juan Court against the official who is accused of violations of the Government Ethics Law and the Criminal Code for organizing fundraising activities for political campaigns in working hours. López’s testimony focused on the alleged pressure he received from Torres to sell tickets for the event that was held on June 7, 2018. Even the witness – presented by the independent special prosecutors – mentioned that he had to go to the offices of companies such as AT&T and Claro Puerto Rico to deliver said tickets for the collection event despite the fact that she expressed her concern to the official because they were companies regulated by the Bureau.

López explained that between April and May 2018, Torres – while she was meeting with Katherine Erazo, fundraiser for the New Progressive Party (PNP) – told her that she would have to manage the sale of ticket offices to a list of guests for the event on 7 June. The ticket offices for said event would cost $ 1,500 per person.

Days after Torres gave him the instruction, López said that the official gave him a list that included companies such as AT&T and Claro. He assured in his testimony that he showed concern about said list because they were companies regulated by the agency. “When I see the list [de invitados] I see recognized names like Enrique Montellanos, president of Claro and the president of AT&T, “said López.

The also public relations officer said that when he went to deliver the lockers in a white envelope at AT & T’s offices, he was “embarrassed” after, once mounted in his vehicle, a company representative called him to indicate that the company did not participate in political events. He then said that they asked him to return to return the tickets.

Exel López upon his departure from the San Juan Court in the case against Sandra Torres. / Dennis Jones / Metro

While in Claro, López reported that he also received a similar response, but that the tickets were not returned. According to his testimony, Montellanos attended the activity on June 7, 2018. “I thought they were going to throw me out … The president [Torres] he told me that he had brought me for this [para eventos de recaudación de fondos]”López said during his testimony in which he also stated that he had no problems delivering the lockers to the Data Access company. He also indicated that contractors such as Fullana and Rodríguez refused to receive the lockers during working hours since it was not allowed.

López indicated that he went to Office Max to print the tickets but commented that he paid for the transaction with his own money. He also said that the emails he sent to some of the guests originated from his personal mail. López also assured that, by making these deliveries, he marked his departure in the strikeout.

López also testified that, in a meeting with Torres, she told him not to invite the names that had an “X” next to them because they were not “Catholic.” López mentioned that this meant that they were not related to the PNP. Contractors such as ‘Tito’ Laureano, María Fullana and Alexandra Rodríguez also appeared on the list. López stated that he also received $ 3,000 from Ángel Cintrón for what he understood were two ticket offices for the event, although he assured that he did not know for whom the second box office would be directed.

Torres’ lawyer, Carmen Quiñones, questioned López about the hours in which he would have registered his departure in the strikeout since Government Ethics had indicated that these strikeouts were not registered. Lopez commented that later an Ethics supervisor told him that they had found that someone had tried to change Lopez’s strikeouts in the Kronos system.

Quiñones also rebuked López regarding an alleged criminal complaint against him because he had accessed the Bureau’s social networks after having gone to work at another government office. He also questioned López about a summons that he received from Justice since he was allegedly being investigated.

López received an immunity agreement with the FEI on August 24.

López’s testimony, in turn, cast doubt on the amount collected in the collection activity. According to his testimony, days after the activity, he informed Agustín García – a member of Rosselló’s campaign committee – that they had about $ 30,000 raised as part of the ticket sales. López then indicated that Erazo would be in charge of collecting the remaining $ 13,500 in lockers that were delivered but not paid at the time of the activity. However, he indicated that the Election Comptroller’s Office only reported just over $ 20,000.

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