Election scandal rocks LULAC, president responds
The League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest and biggest Hispanic civil rights organization in the U.S., is embroiled in a controversy over the election of its new president, Margaret Morán.
According to the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, Morán was favored by LULAC’s Puerto Rican delegation through the use of a structured re-election plan and public funds.
Jaime Martinez, a former National Treasurer for LULAC, was defeated by Morán in his bid for the LULAC presidency. He has since filed suit to overturn the results of the election that was taken at LULAC’s national convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July.
Martinez’s lawsuit in Bexar County argues that since LULAC was involuntarily dissolved by the State of Texas for failure to file a Periodic Report for a non-profit corporation as required by law, the organization had no authority to conduct any business or official actions.
Another lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles to overturn the results of a state convention in which 40 delegate fees were paid with a check that was later stopped. Benny Diaz who claimed to have been elected state director in that election and national LULAC attorney Luis Roberto Vera, Jr. have both had their defaults taken after being served with that lawsuit, filed by Argentina and Angel Luevano.
The cases have yet to be resolved. You can view Martinez’s lawsuit here.
In response to the allegations and scandal, LULAC National President Margaret Moran released the following statement:
LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens) is one of the few Latino organizations that provides its members with an opportunity to help elect its leaders. Our National Board of Directors is elected by LULAC members. This Democratic process was established by LULAC’s founding fathers in 1929.
Occasionally, the spirited campaigns for LULAC office result in disgruntled candidates who did not see the election go their way. While there is an established internal procedure for grievances, in very rare circumstances a disgruntled former LULAC candidate may go beyond LULAC’s internal grievance process in an effort to embarrass the winning candidate.
Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that an ambitious candidate for office in Puerto Rico, Mr. Anibal Jose Torres, has decided to use the patently false claims of a disgruntled former candidate, Mr. Jaime Martinez in an effort to gain headlines in the Puerto Rican press. Mr. Torres never contacted the LULAC National office to validate any of the preposterous claims he has made in the press and appears not to care whether the claims are accurate. This is despite the fact that Latino political figures have an obligation to help strengthen Latino community-based organizations who serve their constituencies. In our opinion his careless disregard for the truth, his failure to verify any of the accusations with LULAC National office, and his unwarranted and vicious attacks against the oldest and largest Hispanic organization in the United States, render Mr. Torres unfit to hold any political office, especially in Puerto Rico whose population is almost entirely Latino.
To set the record straight, here are the facts:
1. For the past 25 years, LULAC in partnership with the Federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), has operated the Federal Training Institute (sometimes referred to herein as the “FTI”) which is open to all government and public sector employees. The FTI is non-partisan, and the training sessions meet the requirements of Title 5, United States Code Chapter 41.
Since 1986, the Federal Training Institute has enabled government employees to enhance their leadership skills, share what they’ve learned with colleagues, and helped the federal government increase Latino representation in leadership positions. The workshops cover areas in career development, communication skills, financial management, information technology, how to become a senior executive, resource management, business acumen and leadership development. The FTI offers individuals the opportunity to develop skills necessary for meeting the Executive Core Qualifications required for entry into the Senior Executive Service and other leadership positions in government.
Puerto Ricans, in particular, have received many job offers in the Federal government as a result of our efforts. People should ask themselves, why would a Puerto Rican politician slander a program which has helped so many Puerto Ricans get better paying jobs in the federal government?
2. A total of 24 Puerto Rico government employees participated in the Federal Training Institute at the 2010 LULAC National Convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico, contrary to misstatements that all 270 members of LULAC Puerto Rico delegation who attended the convention also attended the Federal Training Institute.
3. As LULAC National President, I am the third woman elected President in the Organization’s 82 year history. I had an overwhelming victory for National President in 2010 winning 68.7% of the vote and picking up 17 of the 19 states that were counted before Mr. Martinez conceded victory to me. Mr. Martinez’ claim that he would have won the election but for the Puerto Rican vote is completely false.
In addition, we are alarmed that Mr. Torres has aligned himself with fringe elements in LULAC that do not believe Puerto Ricans should be allowed to join our Organization and should not have any say in how our Organization is run. Why would a Puerto Rican politician be allied with people who want to remove the voice of Puerto Rico from our Organization?
4. Early in 2011, after Mr. Martinez’ grievances were ignored by the FBI, Mr. Martinez filed a lawsuit in the District Courts of Bexar County, Texas. On December 15, 2010, the Court dismissed most of Mr. Martinez’ claims. Thereafter, on July 20th, 2011 after oral argument, the Court dismissed the balance of Mr. Martinez’ case for lack of evidentiary support. Mr. Martinez then filed an appeal of his case in the Fourth Circuit of Appeals of Texas, and to date that court has taken no action on this appeal.
Contrary to what appears as an active FBI investigation of Mr. Martinez’ claims, and while he no doubt reported his grievances of election mishandling to the FBI, by his own admission the FBI found his complaints to be uncorroborated, and a file was never opened.