Monday, August 20, 2012

Investigate Cougar Gate!

Naomi Rivera’s Opponent Calls on DA, Attorney General to Probe Alleged Misuse of Tax Payer $

By Robert Press

BRONX, NEW YORK, August 20- Follow the money, is what Naomi Rivera’s opponent is saying to investigators in regards to affairs the assemblywoman had with younger men whom she put on staff at her office and at a not-for-profit. The political challenger is calling on the Bronx DA and state Attorney General to investigate alleged misuse of tax payer dollars.

Mark Gjonaj candidate for the 80th assembly district sent the following statement: “The Post story shows a clear misuse of public tax payer dollars, which only serves to further voters’ lack of confidence in their elected officials. These allegations necessitate an immediate investigation by the Bronx District Attorney and the NY state Attorney General. I am sure on election day, the voters will make their voices clear that this behavior is no longer acceptable by their public officials.” 

Another opponent of Assemblywoman Rivera Adam Bermudez said, "I believe that no voters who have heard the well reported facts regarding misappropriation of tax dollars will vote for the incumbent Assemblywoman. 

In what has become the second of a series of stories the New York Post last Sunday had a front page story about Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera titled “SUGAR MAMA.” 

This was a tell all story by “BOY TOY” #1 Vincent “Vinny” Pinela on how he got a job as executive director of a non profit The Bronx Council for Economic Development. In the Post article Pinela claims that he had no experience in non profits, but was hired at a salary of $60,000 at the urging of Assemblywoman Rivera after the two started to see each other. The Post article goes on to say that Pinela and Rivera shared an address for parts of 2008 and 2009, that the non profit received over $300,000 in grants from the state, and that Assemblywoman Rivera herself steered just under half of the monies to the non profit herself.

As for where the state monies went, the Post says that romantic dinners, a payment of over $40,000 to a production company owned by one of the assemblywoman’s family members for work done in 2007, and political expenses and donations, (which the Post says were not allowed by a non profit) were among other items. 

As to why the article brings in her father Assemblyman Jose Rivera who was the Bronx Democratic County Leader from 2002 until 2008, I spoke with Mr. Mike Nieves (her father’s campaign manager), who said “Jose Rivera's daughters private life has nothing to do with her father.” 

I called Assemblywoman Rivera's office for a comment from her only to be told that the spokesman would get back to me. After a few more calls I got the spokesman for Assemblywoman Rivera who told me that he would send me a response by my deadline. I was able to extend the deadline still with no comment however from Assemblywoman Rivera as the spokesman was in a meeting and out of the office I was told.

I spoke to several other people which included Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. who asked me to make sure that I mentioned that He was the first elected official to endorse Mark Gjonaj for the 80th Assembly seat, not Naomi Rivera. Political Strategist Patrick Jenkins spokesman for the Bronx Democratic County Organization said, “The Bronx Democratic County Organization stands behind Assemblyman Naomi Rivera and continues to support her, and will not change their position.” Again there were some supporters of Assemblywoman Rivera who did not want to comment.

You can go to my blog at and check the archive section on the left for the links to both Sunday's and Monday's New York Post stories.

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