I strive to use original articles; however, this is a reprint I am using because the original article, published in El Vocero, a Puerto Rican newspaper, did not translate well. -- Faye
Is Congressman Luis Gutiérrez a fraud?
The Gucci Anti-American
By Luis Davila-Colon, Esq.
March 1, 2002
Copyright © 2002 El Vocero.
All Rights Reserved.
Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez is a contradiction in motion. He preaches clean liberalism, yet is a captive of big interests. In Congress, he represents a District of Hispanic American citizens, yet is more anti-Yankee than Osama Bin Laden. He preaches self-determination for Puerto Rico, yet works every day in favor of colonial nationalism. He invokes ethical supremacy, yet is the first to break the law in the name of moral superiority.
Luis Gutiérrez is an imposter and the biggest fraud in Congress. If the Puerto Ricans and Hispanics who overwhelmingly vote for him knew about the dark side of Luis Gutiérrez, the guy would be unmasked as a temple merchant Pharisee. Gutiérrez preaches morality in his underwear. He is a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, yet his wife works for the Second Federal Savings Bank. Gutiérrez condemns influence peddling by Enron and the Republicans, yet is himself supported by a sizeable group of bankers and multinational corporations based in Puerto Rico who bankroll his campaigns. In fact, the most recent report filed with the Federal Elections Commission reveals that of 257 contributors, 147 or 41% were Puerto Rican investors; the cream of the colonial regime, including the President of the Bankers Association, Senior Management at Banco Popular, the President of Payne Webber, the President of Oriental Bank, officers of 936 and 956 corporations, and prominent allies of the Popular Party, such as: the Governor’s lawyer, Salvador Antonetti; the husband of the Attorney General, Panchito de Jesus Schuck; the Secretary of Transportation, José Izquierdo; the Governor’s influential campaign director, Irving Faccio; Ramón Cantero Frau; and the entire private corporate backbone of the PDP.
Considering the number, proportion and immeasurable power which Puerto Rican investors have in the campaigns of Gutiérrez, and the visit which Sila Calderón is making today to his District in Chicago in support of his primary campaign, one must question who this sacred cow of Puerto Rican colonial politics really represents. Is it the moguls, the regime and the 956 companies or the humble denizens of his forsaken District? Clearly, the Governor’s mini-campaign at the expense of Puerto Rican taxpayers is a crude act of "offshore" corruption of the kind she loves to condemn in her opponents. But there is more.
An examination of the financial statements filed by Gutiérrez for 1999 thru 2001 reveals a strange case of sudden an unexplained enrichment. In the 1999 Report, Gutiérrez lists as assets two small savings accounts acquired in 1998 with the LaSalle Bank and the Midtown Bank valued at between $15,000.00 and $50,000.00. Under liabilities, he included a construction mortgage for a house located on West Wabansia in the amount of between $250,000.00 and $500,000.00. The following year, the LaSalle and Midtown savings accounts disappeared from his report and, instead, he appears having purchased two certificates of deposit with the Liberty Bank and the Second Federal Bank, where his wife works, each valued at between $100,000.00 and $250,000.00. Also disappearing is the mortgage on the house on Wabansia and, miraculously, he reports the purchase of an additional house in Coco Beach, Puerto Rico, valued at the same amount and with a mortgage less than $100,000.00.
The LaSalle and Midtown bank accounts which disappeared in the Year 2000 report reappear in the Year 2001 report. In the same Year 2001 report, the Liberty Bank account disappears and a new account at the Park National Bank and Trust is reported with a value of between $100,000.00 and $250,000.00. Gutiérrez also lists as assets stockholdings in Mega Corp. and First Bank of Paducah valued at between $50,000.00 and $250,000.00. For a Congressman with an annual salary of $150,000.00 and a jet-set life-style, one has to ask where the money is coming from? How is it possible for ex- revolutionary Gutiérrez to have multiplied in two years, his personal fortune to three times what he used to report.
Where did the money come from to buy a house in Coco Beach in October 1998? In that purchase, Gutiérrez paid $34,000.00 in cash and claimed a homestead property tax exemption on the basis that it was his primary residence. But there is more.
Gutiérrez who neither lives or is domiciled in Puerto Rico, took illegal advantage of that exemption for tax years 1999 and 2000. Later, during calendar year 2001, the Puerto Rico property tax office (CRIM) revoked the exemption. As a consequence, Gutiérrez owes the Puerto Rican tax authorities over $2,000.00 in property taxes, penalties and interests and may well have incurred in fraudulent acts. If one is to investigate fraud in the property tax office, one must begin with the Legislator. This is not the first time that Gutiérrez commits irregularities in his property taxes. In August 1998, the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune reported a tax fraud when Gutiérrez tried to minimize the value of his property. When the press discovered the fraud, Gutiérrez had to pay over $7,500.00 in back taxes.
Another curiosity is the preferential treatment the Congressman was given when convicted for acts of civil disobedience on Vieques. Gutiérrez was defended by one of his campaign contributors and tried by a federal judge, who also contributed to his campaigns. In the pretrial conference, the Judge ordered that the case of Gutiérrez be severed from that of other co-defendants. Incredibly, and contrary to ordinary practice, the judge did not request a Pre-sentence Investigation Report before passing sentence, precisely so that there would be no record of possible previous encounters with the law. Previous encounters which would have mandated a prison term. Unlike Damaso Serrano, the Zenón’s, Norma Burgos, Rubén Berríos and other independence advocates, Gutiérrez was sentenced to a mere three hours detention in the Marshal’s Office and an unsupervised term of probation. The question is: Why was a Congressman from Chicago given preferential treatment when the same considerations were not given in Puerto Rico to Reverend Al Sharpton and other activists imported from New York in the anti-American cause.
All of these questions go to the heart of her integrity, her honesty, her independence and her credibility. The truth is that today, in Chicago, Sila Calderón is engaged in a political campaign paid for with Puerto Rican tax dollars to favor in the primary a hypocritical impostor who pretends to be a revolutionary, but defends the sleazy interests of the colonial capitalist regime. For less than that, members of the opposition are being thrown in jail in Puerto Rico.
Yep, we are living in the time of Gucci revolutionaries and Louis Vuitton insurgents . . .