Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) tried this week to clear up questions about his finances amidst a reported investigation into $500,000 in payments by a dog track (whose cause Rivera supported) to a company owned by his mother and godmother.
As the Miami Herald reports, Rivera sold a two-bedroom condo at 8897 Fontainebleau Blvd. to his mother’s company just eight days after he was elected to Congress.
While Rivera’s financial disclosure forms said he made more than $100,000 from the sale of real estate in 2010 (according to the Associated Press), the county said last year the condo was worth only $89,000. Rivera also said in financial disclosures he repaid the $137,000 in undisclosed loans he received from a company run by Rivera’s mother and godmother — a loan he said came before the dog track’s contract with the company.
Former TPMer Benjamin Sarlin (now of the Daily Beast) caught up with Rivera this week, who told him he wouldn’t let the questions throw him off his game.
“I am completely focused on doing my job as congressman,” Rivera said. “Nobody — or any newspaper — is going to deter me from fulfilling the mandate the voters sent me to fulfill.”
Then Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) interrupted the exchange between Sarlin and Rivera. Sarlin asked Cantor, who has said the GOP will have a zero tolerance policy for ethics violations, what he thought of the Rivera case.
“Really, I don’t know anything about that,” Cantor said. “All I know is what I read.”
Shortly afterward, Sarlin asked Rivera again about the loan filings, “but he slipped away, citing an urgent text message,” Sarlin wrote.
What makes the sale of 8897 Fontainebleau Blvd. intriguing is that it is close to the 8899 Fontainebleau Blvd. address listed on a flier distributed by an opponent of Rivera back in 2002 which accused the then-candidate for the Florida statehouse of being involved in a domestic-violence dispute back in 1994. The fliers feature a purported thumbnail version of court records reportedly obtained by his opponent about the 1994 dispute. Original court records were destroyed, and only an electronic record of the petition (with no additional identifying information about the Rivera in question) remains. The flier’s supposed copy of the records are too small to make out the details.
Rivera has strongly denied that he was the same David Rivera involved in the 1994 domestic violence case, and said that to “suggest otherwise is a blatant and shameful lie.” But there are a number of ties between Jenia Dorticos, the woman who filed the complaint, and Rivera, though both have denied knowing one another and Dorticos has refused to identify the Rivera involved.
But it definitely was Rivera who later crashed his vehicle into a truck carrying the fliers, forcing it off the road just ahead of the time the post office was set to close (see the accident report here, in which he lists his address as a P.O. box).