Who is José Bou Santiago, the mega-entrepreneur convicted of corruption?

Businessman Joseph Bou Santiagowho pleaded guilty yesterday federal court for bribing the former mayor of catania Felix “El Cano” Delgado, is a government mega-contractor who has earned more than $40 million in contracts over a 14-year career, the vast majority Municipality of Bayamon,

Since 2008, Bou Santiago. companies ofwhich initially focused on tree felling and maintenance, but later expanded into many other activities including heavy equipment rental, Received $41.8 million contracts with the municipalities of Bayamón, Toa Baja, Guaynabo, Carolina and three other public entities,

Currently, the company has contracts worth $623,213 with the Municipality of Baymon, an entity with which it has received contracts worth $27.5 million through 603 contracts and amendments since 2008, according to the register of contracts. Puerto Rico Comptroller’s Office,

Mayor Ramon Luis Rivera and the President of the Town Hall Auction Commission, Jonathan Figueroa Riostoday strongly defended unity talks with the person convicted of corruption.

Rivera responded with a written “no” when asked if he was aware that the contractor was under federal investigation. Likewise, this media asked if the federal authorities had requested information, documents or cooperation from the municipality of Bayamon regarding the investigation against Bou Santiago, to which the municipal executive also replied “no”.

Moreover, El Nuevo Día asked the mayor if the businessman had bribed him or tried to bribe him in exchange for contracts, to which he replied “obviously not”. This newspaper also asked if other Bymon officials had been bribed in exchange for contracts with the city council. “For the record, never,” Rivera said in write-in responses.

In the same vein, the medium asked if there was any guarantee that the contracts obtained by Beau Santiago in the municipality of Bayamon were not obtained through corruption or a process contrary to law. “The procedures guarantee this, because they are contracts resulting from formal public auctions, which have rigor and are governed by the applicable laws and regulations,” the mayor said.

At the end of this edition last night, the municipality had not decided on what would happen to the still active contracts. Six of these contracts were signed under the category “Bus” and “Trucks” under the type of service “Purchase, sale and rental of equipment, vehicles and others”.

Two other agreements have been signed for “Green Sector Maintenance Services”. There is also a contract under “Housing” for $1,944, which expires on October 31. This contract, the municipality said, “corresponds to a property that this man owns in the Municipality of Baymon, which is leased to the federal Section 8 program.”

The municipality of Bayamón defends itself

The agreements obtained through his company Bou Maintenance Service Corp., except one, are active and expire from October 31, 2022 to June 30, 2023.

“This company is registered as an authorized government bidder and has participated in public auctions in which in some cases it was found to be the highest bidder and in many other cases it was not and was therefore not auctioned,” they said. he said. His role, Figueroa Rios.

“All of these processes were transparent, properly documented and compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. This file is available to any assessment agency that requests it. Regarding the current legal status of the company, the municipality has requested an assessment from the legal team,” said Figueroa Ríos.

“As is known, the mayor is not a member of the auction commission nor does he participate in these processes,” the official said.

El Nuevo Día asked Bayamón Mayor Ramón Luis Rivera Cruz (above) if the businessman had bribed him or tried to bribe him in exchange for a contract, to which he replied “obviously not”. This newspaper also asked if other Bymon officials had been bribed in exchange for contracts with the city council. “For the record, never,” Rivera said in write-in responses. (Ramon “Tonito” Zayas)

Bou Santiago, 50,’s entrepreneurial career could come to an end tomorrow morning when, before federal magistrate Bruce McGiverin, he admitted that in April 2019 he gave then-mayor Delgado a Rolex watch from worth $33,000, in order to Subsequent Business Opportunities.

The meeting in which the bribery took place took place at the former mayor’s home, as stated in the petition agreement reached by the parties. During his admission of guilt, Bu Santiago pronounced “guilty” in Magistrate McGiverin’s courtroom, in a hoarse, low voice, almost in a whisper.

The plot began when, two months later, the Bou maintenance department received a $190,000 construction services contract from the municipality. The municipality hired the company to rebuild and seal the roof of the Parque la Esperanza building, which had been hit by Hurricane Maria two years earlier.

According to the file reviewed by the Municipal Corporation, after evaluating two other bidders who submitted bids, the municipality awarded the contract. new day,

One of them was LBA Trucks and General Contractor, which is owned by an associate of Bou Delgado in another company, Lorenzo Bonilla Agosto.

really, Research Unit of new day published last year, that on at least six occasions, Bou Santiago and Bonilla Agosto have submitted citations to compete for equal benefits.

On another occasion, LBA Trucks competed for the same project with BL General Contractors, a company run by Julie Colón Ríos, wife of Bu Santiago.

The contract awarded in exchange for Rolex is only a small fraction of the $3.5 million contract with Caetano under the Delgado administration that Bou Maintenance received.

At the end of the hearing, Bu Santiago managed to evade the members of the press who were waiting to ask him questions. his lawyer, Ernesto Hernandez MilanHe walked out of court denying that his client was cooperating with authorities under the plea deal.

In June 2019, the Municipality of Caetano hired Bou Maintenance Services Corp. to rebuild and seal the roof of the Parque la Esperanza building, pictured, following damage from Hurricane Maria. (David Villafen Ramos)

When asked if there could be other defendants in the plan, Hernandez Millán replied that “the prosecution knows”. “From our side, he’s not cooperating, so we’re not aware of that.”

The criminal case against Bou Santiago is another sequel to former Mayor Delgado’s collaboration with federal officials as part of his own plea deal for accepting bribes from small asphalt companies and waste collection.

The owners of these businesses have also admitted to the crime and are cooperating, which has resulted in the indictment and arrest of three mayors and a deputy mayor, as well as petitions with three former mayors and two directors. public works.

Bou Santiago was sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutor Seth Erbe estimated they would recommend two years in prison after reaching a plea deal.

Magistrate McGiverin placed him on an unsecured bond of $100,000 to ensure his appearance at sentencing. The guilty businessman will also have to surrender his passport and gun license.

Catao. For the attention of the Mayor of

Before Bou Santiago’s guilty plea, the mayor of Caetano, Julio Alicia Vasallo, said that “the intention of the municipality is to pursue the recovery of public funds paid as a result of contracts obtained illegally”. “We have already requested the necessary legal assessment so that relevant actions can be taken against Bow Maintenance Service and to whom they apply,” he said.

Bou Santiago has also reached an agreement with the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company for $19,259, valid until June 30, 2023, for “maintenance of green spaces”.

The said organization replied that it was analyzing the termination of the contract legally.

The current agreements with Bayamon and Fomento Industrial appear to be signed by Julie Colón Rios, wife of Bu Santiago. According to documents posted at the Companies Registry of state departmentOn June 27 – two months before he pleaded guilty to bribery – an amendment to Bo Maintenance Service Corp’s corporate profile was certified, eliminating Bou Santiago’s name as chairman and treasurer, so that his wife could occupy these positions, in addition to serving as secretary.

Julien Bou Cologne He is listed on the certification as a vice president of the company. On August 10, moreover, the State Department certified that Colón Rios had become the resident agent of the for-profit entity, leaving her husband’s name off the records.

Similarly, a contract between Bou Santiago and the Municipality of San Juan for $5,424 appears under “Housing” as a type of service in the comptroller’s register. The municipality has indicated that it is verifying whether it is indeed the same José Bou Santiago who pleaded guilty.

In a statement released yesterday, the Director of Government Purchasing and general services administration (ASG), Carla Mercado Riverastated that, as part of the requirements to appear in the Single Registry of Bidders (RUL) in an affidavit submitted by Bou Santiago from February this year, The businessman accepted that the guilty plea would mean the cancellation of one of his contracts with public entities,

ASG decided to exclude Bou Maintenance Service Corp. and all its RUL representatives.

“To ensure that Government Entities, Exempt Entities and Participating Municipalities of the Government of Puerto Rico only contract with natural or legal persons whose moral solvency is proven and who have not been convicted or who have been convicted in a state or federal, or in any other jurisdiction of the United States, of these offenses of fraud, embezzlement or unlawful appropriation of public funds… The company Bou Maintenance Service Corp. is excluded. Single Register of Bidders The term of ten years is counted by bidder number 10389 from the date from the date on which Mr. José L. Bou Santiago ceases to serve the sentence imposed on him,” reads the resolution. .

Melissa C. Keyes