Citing local and federal Constitutional rights that establish freedom of information, New Progressive Party Rep. José Enrique Meléndez filed a lawsuit against the Government Development Bank and Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla, asking the court to order them to release reports crafted by private firms proposing a restructuring of Puerto Rico’s economy.
So far, the government has refused to make public the findings and recommendations presented, said the lawmaker, who requested the information on two instances — July 2 and July 30, 2014. Specifically, he asked the GDB to release the reports submitted by firms Proskauer & Rose LLP, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP y Millco Advisors, hired earlier this year to address the island’s fiscal problems. Meléndez also required a list of all of the people involved in the analysis of the findings, recommendations and conclusions.
“Given the continued action by this government to withhold information from the people, of imposing more taxes on Puerto Ricans, and continuing its improvisation in the face of the island’s precarious economic situation, I have filed a legal challenge to seek help from the justice system to compel the GDB to publish the reports provided by several foreign private firms,” Meléndez said, adding the firms were paid $3 million for their work..
“To this day, neither the Legislature, nor the press, nor the people of Puerto Rico, which signed the check, have yet to see a single recommendation in those reports, which leads us to ask: Do they really exist? Was the work for which they were hired done? Or were they given a blank check for doing nothing?,” he said, questioning if the work was ever done.
“Nobody knows for sure if the these firms conducted the work. Not a single majority lawmaker can say that they received or discussed these reports to develop new legislation, nor is there a newspaper report where people can read the recommendations in those reports that the government would allegedly adopt,” he said.