David Rivera’s never ending scandal(s)
The David Rivera scandal just won’t go away.
Last week his confidante and close friend, Ana Sol Alliegro, who still claims she has never worked on behalf of the former member of congress, was arrested and deported from Nicaragua where she lived in hiding. Alliegro was handed over to the FBI at the Managua airport on Friday.
Now back in the U.S. she pleaded not guilty in a Miami courtroom to four counts of making a false statement, conspiring and making illegal campaign contributions. According to her indictment, the Miami Herald reported, “Alliegro and her ‘co-conspirators’ helped steer nearly $82,000 in unreported contributions to the campaign of another co-conspirator, Justin Lamar Sternad, in a 2012 Democratic congressional primary.”
David Rivera is part of the Alliegro saga. He has been under scrutiny by local, state and federal authorities for what seems like forever now. But most recently it was in relation to the aforementioned Justin Lamar Sternad case, who ran against Joe Garcia in 2012 democratic primary for the then new congressional district 26. Garcia and Rivera square off in the general election – won by Garcia.
All indications point to Lamar Sternad being placed in the primary race by Rivera and his people. And “handled” by self-professed republican bad girl Alliegro. The plan was to trash Garcia in the primary weakening him with over the top accusations and innuendo brought out through campaign advertising paid for with mysterious money. The mystery turned out to be more than $80,000 spent by a candidate who had declared less than $15,000, of which almost $10,000 went to the registration fee required to become a candidate…
Lamar Sternad pleaded guilty last year to not reporting campaign contributions received. Now the feds are chasing the ones responsible for getting him the mysterious money that led to his indictment. He appears to be cooperating with the authorities – definitely not a good thing for Alliegro or Rivera.
Rivera’s bad boy reputation is nothing new. Here are a few reminders:
- The organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) recognized him as one of the most corrupt members of congress in 2012. Their report stated: “His ethics issues stem from what appear to be multiple money laundering and tax evasion schemes involving: (1) his role in a pro-slots campaign; (2) repeatedly misreporting his income and liabilities on personal financial disclosure forms; (3) using campaign funds for personal benefit and to steer money to family and friends; and (4) his personal and professional ties to an ex-lobbyist and her consulting company.”
- Rivera’s blatant lies on important state documents, claiming to have worked for the USAID, for instance, when in fact the USAID reported they had no knowledge of his employment with them.
- There’s Millennium Marketing. A company created by Rivera’s mother that was paid more than half a million dollars to help pass a new gambling enterprise in South Florida. Records show that Rep. Rivera’s mom then paid Rivera. Two things wrong with this. One, as a legislator who voted on the gambling law, it was a huge conflict of interest. And two, I guess David never heard of Al Capone. The only way they caught him was when he did not pay his taxes…
But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Rivera just wanted to follow strong Republican values by creating small businesses. The problem, though, as I just mentioned, is that these businesses seemed to have been funneling illegal cash – to himself and and his political shill, Sternad.
As for Alliegro… she tried to disappear into the intense Nicaraguan heat, probably waiting till things in Florida cooled off. But the republican bad girl returned like a, well the bad girl she once proclaimed herself to be on twitter. She was escorted to Miami by the FBI in handcuffs – minus the velvet she’d probably always dreamed of.
The weeks to come will probably decipher this ever-unfolding scandal into dimensions that will have Rivera regretting the “gangster” label Alliegro once hung on him. Anyone’s courage dissipates like evaporating steam under a criminal investigation, especially one led by the FBI or the IRS.
And where does Rivera pal Marco Rubio fit into all of this? The two have known each other for almost two and a half decades ago, and have continuously supported each other’s political moves. The fact is that Marco has committed some blunders himself. Well, we can call them blunders. But truth be told, Senator Marco has downright lied to Florida voters in the past. A trait he shares with David.
Sen. Rubio was caught shamelessly lying about his past when he claimed his parents had escaped communist Cuba when in fact they had left before the Revolution – some say the family was really running from 1950s Cuban strongman Batista.
As for spending money that is not his. Rubio, when he was Florida Speaker of the House, went shopping for personal delights with credit cards that the Republican Party handed out to select members intended only for emergency and political purposes. Rubio used them for personal items. It has been documented that he spent thousands of dollars. Included were travel tickets for the family, Apple electronics, and even car rentals in Miami.
Who knows? Maybe these two used to play Monopoly when they lived together. And maybe they bought into the idea that easy money comes and goes. As for the home owned by both in Tallahassee… they tried skipping out on the mortgage.
Scott Arceneaux, the Florida Democratic Party Executive Director reacted once by saying: “David Rivera and Marco Rubio have a lot more in common than just being long-time friends and roommates – they both used political funds to fuel their personal expenses and lavish lifestyles.”
After checking the background of these two Cuban American politicians (and their ‘bad girl’ friend and political operative, Ana Sol Alliegro) how can anyone seriously feel pride, and later even vote, for these individuals when all they bring to South Florida is shame.