Puerto Rico board complains about government lack of disclosure

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The Puerto Rico Oversight Board complained about the local government’s lack of financial disclosure Tuesday afternoon, in another signal of tension between the two governmental entities.

Board Executive Director Natalie Jaresko sent a letter to Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Gerardo Portela Franco, executive director of the Financial Advisory Authority, noting that his government had missed at least three deadlines. The local government was supposed to submit a document comparing General Fund budgeted spending to actual spending on May 31, a summary of PayGo balances on May 31, and summary of public employee payroll, headcount, and attendance on June 30.

Jaresko said that the board received a request on May 31 for extensions on the first two deadlines and the board didn’t grant it.

The letter said the government of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló is supposed to present a report comparing special revenue funds budgeted spending to actual spending and a report on budgeted federal funds to actual receipts on Oct. 31.

“The Oversight Board awaits the publication of these reports and expects the remaining deadlines to be met,” Jaresko said. “If the outstanding reports are not made public by July 27, 2018, the latest monthly report received by the Oversight Board will be made available to the public.” The “monthly report” referred to here is a financial report that the Rosselló government provides to the board. The board hasn’t made public the nature of its contents.

On July 5 Rosselló sued the board saying that its approved budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 attempts to overstep the board’s authority. On Monday Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and House President Carlos Méndez Núñez filed a similar suit. All suits were filed as adversary proceedings in the Title III bankruptcy case in federal district court.

Earlier this month Puerto Rico released its comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal year 2015. The report is the most recent Puerto Rico CAFR and covers a period from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015. Some bondholders and members of Congress have been concerned by what they say has been Puerto Rico’s long history of late or inadequate financial disclosure.

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