If some skeptics believed that the seven from the board were coming to put the house in order, to end the politicking, to not be influenced by anyone, well theyve had a sad awakening. Viewed as a whole, with some exceptions, there are no big stars in these seven. Most of us who follow these issues had to go to use Google to find out who they were and their merits, and the balance is frightening, particularly over those who are Republican, who are the majority with the power to decide our future. Furthermore, in just 24 hours Wall street analysts have concluded that this board is pro-bondholders.
The best known one is the biggest surprise: Carlos Garcia. For those who wanted a fresh start (or clean slate) his name is bad news. He is the first president that the Government Development Bank had under Luis Fortuño, the architect of the fateful Law 7 that left thousands of public employees out of work and accelerated the economic crisis. This Garcia is who administrated more than 6 billion in ARRA funds that Obama sent to Puerto Rico, who to this day, does not know what they were used for. This Garcia or Caco, as his friends call him, was who raised the CONFINA debt of $6 billion to $14 billion and changed its use to finance operational deficits; and, even worse, was the one who, at Fortuños request indebted the BGF Bank for $4 billion, with a bond issue to be paid in this quadrennium. This is the debt that precipitated the bankruptcy of the BGF, but if this was not enough to disqualify him, he has a grave conflict because, how can he tell the bondholders that he wont pay them, when it was he who approved these issuances? How will he audit the prudence of these issuances (issue bonds?) if he was the one who designed them?
The next one that jumps up at you is José Carrión III, a successful insurance agent, but without any expertise in the financial challenges we face. He is pro-statehood, Republican. PNP and Pierluisis brother-in-law. None of that disqualifies him, but it also doesnt make him qualified, and I must say that one quick Google search was all it took to end the illusion that the board is coming to put an end to political influences. I have no doubt that José Carrión is one of the seven because he donated thousands of dollars to Republicans here and in the US. The website Open Secrets reveals that in recent years he has made, among others, the following donations: $20,000 to Jeb Bushs super pac, $3,000 to Marco Rubio, $7,000 to the Republican National Party; $2,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee; $2,000 to Marco Rubio, $4,000 to Luis Fortuño, $4,500 to his brother-in-law Pierluisi, $1,000 to Labrador and $2,700 to Jennifer González.
The others we will get to know along the way, but it stands out that the other two republicans are ultra conservatives, of those who understand you have to pay at any cost (or by any means). Andrew Biggs belongs to the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank that is known for advocating for reducing the salaries of public employees. David Skeel is a university professor, a bankruptcy expert, but on the issues that concern us, his position has been that bankruptcy laws are bad for creditors. From these four republicans its easy to anticipate what awaits us and to make matters worst, disappointedly, they were validated and appointed by Obama.
On the side of the democrats there is some little hope. Arthur González is a reputable former bankruptcy judge. Ana Matosantos comes with vast experience in budgetary matters from the state of California, who has managed them under republican and democrat governors, and last is the banker José Ramón González, known and respected in the financial world. He was president of the BGF during the second administration of Rafael Hernández Colón, which doesnt present a conflict of interest because there are no transactions from that time on the table.
On balance, the hopes of Puerto Rico are only to fight against this board.