27 October 2005

God And Sewage

Update: The All-Time Latin Players Team was presented this week during the World Series. Roberto Clemente was selected as an outfielder, an obvious and worthy choice. Please visit this website and sign the petition to retire Clemente's number 21 from Major League baseball, in a tribute similar to that bestowed on the memory of Jackie Robinson.

The Jenius was going to pass on this one, but it literally stinks too much to be left alone. The head of the powerful Aqueduct and Sewer Authority Union, Hector René Lugo, is under Federal investigation for alleged--ahem--misappropriation of the union's medical plan funds to the tune of some $12 million. He is also under investigation for alleged--ahem--tax evasion, to which he recently (October 2004) made a partial payment of $450,000.

In cash. A humble union president! What are the odds?

This week Lugo resigned his besieged fiefdom, not because of the charges he faces--of course not!--but "to allow payments of the medical plan to be renewed." Seems that in the middle of money disappearing and whatnot, the Sewage Agency stopped paying the medical plan that covers union members and other government employees.

And who "brokered" the deal for this out-on-bail, alleged--ahem--serial tax evader, potentate plumber with a millionaire's booty to resign and "clear the path"? Archbishop of San Juan Roberto González.

What the hell is the Archbishop of San Juan doing here? For some ungodly reason, he is the president of the union's Medical Plan Board of Directors, a position the union--most likely rigged by Lugo--demanded the Archbishop occupy so as to end the recent strike against the Sewage Agency. Seems the union had a problem with the Sewage Agency's Board of Directors president, Miguel Nazario, (president of Triple S and provider of an alternate medical plan with much better coverage than the union's) who refused to pay the agency's part of the medical plan deal, a total now of $6.1 million, after the Insurance Commissioner's Office determined that there was extensive hanky-panky going on between Lugo, 10 other union directors and the sorry excuse they had for a medical plan.


To summarize: Lugo presides over a union in George Meany-like fashion, is charged with misuse of medical plan funds, orders a strike (excuse Me: the union voted for one--ahem) and as a pre-condition to ending the strike, the union--wink-wink--demands that the freaking Archbishop of San Juan be the point guy for receiving medical plan payments from the Sewage Agency.

It doesn't boggle the mind that the agency agreed, it boggles the mind that the archbishop did.

Now, as near as The Jenius can tell, there's nothing in any book, legal or religious, that says that a priest can't do a little business consulting on the side. Maybe it's just Me, but that role rarely suits a priest, and in this case, what We have here stinks to high heaven, low hell and everywhere else in between.

If the archbishop has free time on his hands, let Me suggest that there are much better uses of his time than playing patsy for a crooked--ahem, allegedly crooked--union leader. If the archbishop didn't know Lugo, he should have checked him and the situation out thoroughly and declined to participate. If he does know Lugo, he should have declined to participate even faster. Are you telling Me that on an island steeped with social inequalities and a perceived decline of moral values, the archbishop thinks that watching over the inner doings of a union's medical plan fiasco, not to mention possible criminal conduct, is more important than "serving the flock"?

Do tell.

Of course, Lugo used the archbishop connection to indicate that "God had illuminated him" as to what he should do. There's more than a whiff of hypocrisy and outright poppycock in that statement, for where was God when Lugo was allegedly--ahem--evading taxes and allegedly--ahem--making off with the union's monies?

My understanding is that God was always there: just that Lugo wasn't listening.

And neither was the archbishop.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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