by Gerson BorreroCity & State TV (originally aired on March 8, 2015)
To view the interview, click here
Attorney Ram?n Jim?nez, a lifelong activist with roots in the Bronx, who has represented low income families, community groups and injured workers, spoke candidly with City & State Editor-At-Large Gerson Borrero about his growing concerns with the current state of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
Jim?nez’ criticisms come a few weeks after the first anniversary of the announcement of the ousting of marketing agent of the NPRDP, Carlos Velazquez, and the removal of most of its Board Members by the New York State Attorney General.
The investigation and action by the AG’s office was triggered by the protests of Jim?nez and numerous community groups against Parade corporate sponsor Coors Beer for promoting a 24-ounce can of their beer with a Puerto Rican flag and an emblem of the Parade printed on as their logo for the event. The group heading up the campaign is Boricuas for a Positive Image and is led by activist and labor leader Lucky Rivera. Their organizing overwhelmed Coors to the point that they withdrew the insulting beer cans.
This grassroots movement against Coors resulted in the investigation of the Parade and its finances. Jim?nez explains how the AG agreed to proceed with the probe after Puerto Rican community pressure that included pickets, community forums and even a phone campaign to the Attorney General demanding a full investigation.
Jim?nez also has criticisms of the role that Melissa Mark-Viverito has played in politicizing the new Board in collusion with the AG. She was an active participant of the protests of the actions of the prior Board as a Council Member before becoming Speaker, and helped in the negotiations with the AG’s settlement with the corrupt Parade Board.
Jimenez also expressed serious concerns about the ties the current Board has with lobbying group MirRam, led by Roberto Ramirez and Luis Miranda. Jim?nez questions whether these lobbyists have injected their partisan agenda into the Parade.
There are also concerns that Carlos Vel?squez has yet to pay the $100,000 fine he owes after having misappropriated over a million dollars from the Parade. According to Jim?nez, the Board and the AG have done nothing to date to collect the monies from Vel?squez.