February 14, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with the marketing agent for the National Puerto Rican Day Parade over the agent’s mismanagement of corporate donations. He then took questions from reporters and was asked about eyeliner. Video
The attorney general conducted a 9-month probe of the GALOS Corporation because its president, Carlos Velasquez, had been siphoning off about $1 million in corporate donations since 2008. Schneiderman said GALOS understated the actual amount of money it raised and didn’t provide the necessary documentation to prove it.
“For example, one corporate sponsor provided $75,000 to the parade through GALOS but GALOS only reported to the board $20,000 of those contributions. That’s how this scam worked,” said Schneiderman.
Velasquez also committed other shenanigans such as misappropriating airline vouchers and misdirecting additional funds. The attorney general laid the blame directly on the National Puerto Rican Day Parade board for lax oversight.
“There should not have been this ongoing misappropriation of assets for years if the board had provided the oversight they’re required to under the New York non-profit law,” Schneiderman said.
As a result of the shenanigans, GALOS will be required to cancel $1 million in debt that NPRDP owed to GALOS that shouldn’t have existed but for the misdirection of funds and Mr. Velasquez will pay $100,000 in compensation back to the parade organization, along with the airline tickets.
The attorney general also sacked more than half the leadership of the parade organization and replaced them with 10 new directors. He also barred Velasquez from any future business roles associated with the parade.
Schneiderman, along with Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, then took questions from reporters. Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News asked whether he or the speaker was worried about whether or not the parade will be able to win back the confidence of corporations to donate again before the next parade in June after they’ve learned most of their donations went to Velasquez.
Mark-Viverito said the intervention by the Attorney General to reach a settlement should help.
“It’s important that the sponsors that have historically sponsored this parade know they should not walk away from the parade this year; that they have the full confidence of myself and others in assisting the new board to make sure it succeeds,” said Mark-Viverito.
Schneiderman added, in response, that he’s confident the board will successfully organize and direct the next National Puerto Rican Day Parade in June:
“I’m confident that this board will demonstrate the kind of skill and the kind of integrity we should all be looking for in a cultural institution this important.”
Then Schneiderman was asked about an off-topic subject, stemming from an early reputed feud between Schneiderman and Governor Cuomo over how to spend the $613 million the attorney general obtained from a settlement of securities litigation with JPMogan Chase. The governor reportedly said that the attorney general wore eyeliner.
“What’s your relationship with the Governor like these days,” asked a NY Observer reporter.
“My relationship with the Governor is very strong.”
Schneiderman then lay to rest the eyeliner charge.
“I’ve taken these eye-drops for a condition I’ve got that have a side-effect of making your eyelashes longer and thicker.”
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