Before the controversy over the links of the law firm in which he works with the Education deparment and the meeting he held in Strength with the governor Ricardo Rosselló Nevares and the former secretary Julia Keleher, lawyer Jay Rosselló Nevares, brother of the president, he broke the silence today to give his version of events.
Below, his statements:
My name is Jay Rosselló, brother of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. I'm not a public figure. However, in order to clarify any doubt and misinformation that has spread about my professional practice as a lawyer, I make and submit the following statements.
These are the facts:
I do not have, and I have never had, contracts with the Department of Education or any other department, agency or entity of the Government of Puerto Rico.
I am a lawyer by profession, admitted to practice, and in "good standing", in two jurisdictions in the United States.
I have more than two decades of legal experience, the vast majority in the field of education.
Since May of 2017, I practice as a lawyer for the law firm Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose. Since I am a member of Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose, the firm has had only one contract with the Government of Puerto Rico. That contract of Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose was with the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, was signed at the end of 2017, and expired on June 30, 2018, with the fiscal year. Personally, I did not have any role in the request, negotiation, completion or management of it.
This contract arose given the pre-existing relationship of former Secretary Julia Keleher and a shareholder of Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose, Mr. Charlie Rose. This relationship goes back to when both worked for the Department of Education of the United States and was finalized due to the extraordinary national reputation and expertise of the firm in the field of education.
On behalf of the firm, the contract was in charge, was the responsibility of, and was signed and handled by, Mr. Rose. The purpose of the contract was to provide the Department of Education with legal advice and assistance in federal, legislative and public policy matters, including consulting in relation to certain areas of educational reform that eventually became Law 85-2018.
This process involved reading and reviewing multiple drafts of potential legislation. Those drafts were in Spanish, and since I was, and continue to be, the only lawyer in the firm with a command of both languages, Mr. Rose asked me to read and analyze (not translate) them. That effort resulted in around 25 hours worked in total, and never included additional activities, such as, for example, participation in calls or meetings with the Department of Education.
In fact, I never had, during the validity of, and in relation to, this contract, any contact with officers or representatives of the Department or anyone other than Mr. Rose.
The total amount that the firm billed the Department for this contract was $ 47,800 (not the $ 155,000 reported by some media) and the firm eventually received a smaller amount, $ 45,486.26. Of that amount, around $ 8,000 correspond to the work I did. The rest, or approximately $ 40,000, went to compensate the work of Mr. Rose and others appointed by him under the contract.
Through my two years working at Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose, I have represented, and provided legal assistance, to countless clients of the firm.
One such client was, for a short time, the Center for Education Reform ("CER"), a non-profit organization that advocates for educational reforms, including charter schools. In October 2018, the Governor made a presentation before the CER, in which he urged the attendees to participate in the educational transformation in Puerto Rico.
There was born the idea of coordinating a meeting in Puerto Rico between CER members, the Governor and the former Secretary, which took place in December 2018. The purpose of the meeting was to explain the process, and discuss the potential, to establish schools charter in Puerto Rico. I participated in that meeting as part of my work for CER. Neither during the meeting, nor at any time since then, was assigned, appointed, or made any commitment in relation to charter schools.
It should also be noted that I am not a shareholder of the firm, but what is known as a "non-equity partner", without ownership interest in the firm and with a work contract that establishes a fixed salary. I do not receive commissions or compensations that are not for work done by myself. As a consequence, and contrary to the shareholders of the firm, I never receive, in addition, profits generated by the firm's contracts, including the aforementioned contract with the Department of Education. My compensation would have been the same, whether or not I contracted with the Department of Education.
Therefore, I do not have, nor did I have, an interest of any kind in relation to this (or any other) contract. Neither does nor exist, conflict of any kind in which Hogan, Marren, Babbo & Rose has entered into a contract with, and has provided legal services requested by, the Department of Education of Puerto Rico, or in which I have represented to CER or participated in its meeting with the Governor and the former Secretary.
These will be the only statements I will make about it. I naturally believe in the right to information and to have clear issues, particularly those of public affairs. However, having established the facts through this communication, I want to make it clear that to say or imply any irregularity with respect to my participation in this matter, is simply false, malicious and defamatory, and exposes to legal actions to those who insist on doing so.