Rodriguez responds to “extortion” allegations - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Rodriguez responds to “extortion” allegations

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Gubernatorial candidate and Senator Dennis Rodriguez responding to allegations his campaign was “extorted” by the Calvo/Tenorio administration. 

The allegation - made by former administration senior aide Troy Torres - that Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio’s staffer Jadeen Tuncap had delivered a message for the senator through a Rodriguez supporter.

The message - that Governor Eddie Calvo would not sign off on Rodriguez running mate David Cruz’ contract to teach JROTC at JFK High School -unless Rodriguez voted in support of the Governor’s tax hike bill.

“The allegations made by Troy Torres are true,” Senator Dennis Rodriguez tells KUAM News. “They sent a message at that time and my response was that it was a crazy message - and to relay back that I would be voting my conscience on the tax hikes - and that I would not succumb to blackmail and corruption.”

Rodriguez voted “No” on the tax hikes, which passed by a narrow 8-7 legislative vote.

Rodriguez telling KUAM News the contract for Cruz essentially made him an unclassified employee - ensuring Cruz would not violate the Mini Hatch Act by campaigning as the Lieutenant Governor candidate on the Rodriguez/Cruz Democratic ticket.

Cruz’s contract was eventually signed on March 8. When pressed for further information, Rodriguez said “The proper authorities have been provided with  the information. This is all I’m going to say about it at this time.”

In a response sent by Adelup, the Governor’s office refuted Rodriguez’s statement.

“Senator Rodriguez reached out to the Governor for help with David Cruz’s contract, and the Governor agreed to this,  only after it went through the  approval process of DOE and the Attorney Generals Office. 

* The Governor signed the contract on March 8. 
* The Rodriguez-Cruz camp made their official announcement to run for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on March 10.
* The vote on Bill 248 took place on March 15, with a "no" vote from the senator. 

The factual timeline above refutes Torres’ claims. 

This is an individual who is admitted to drug use, subject to an ongoing criminal investigation, and who continues to feed media with unconfirmed lies. 

We ask  that Sen. Rodriguez, for the record, state what role, paid or unpaid, Troy plays in his campaign and if none, that he ask his former campaign manager to stop using his good name and the good name of David Cruz to perpetuate lies about good people.”

"The timeline of events speak for themselves. We continue to refute the misinformation put out by the political operative of a gubernatorial campaign, who is admittedly undergoing drug therapy and subject in an ongoing criminal investigation. While some might question why Senator Rodriguez would stoop this low, we understand that political people do political things during a political season,” the Governor’s office maintains.  

Additionally, the Governor stands by what he said to Sen. Rodriguez in their conversations: 

- first when Sen Rodriguez asked the Governor for help ... the Governor said he would do so as long as everything checked out with DOE and the AG’s office.

- Second, when the Governor told Sen Rodriguez when he signed the contract ... all of which happened before the Legislature took their vote on March 15.

KUAM files show that although Senators voted on the Governor’s tax hike bill on March 15, there was actually another bill voted down previously. The first one, Bill 245, was defeated during a legislative session that occurred on Feb. 28th. The legislation proposed raising Guam’s BPT by 2%. It was shot down with a vote of 10-4.

Torres resigned as Rodriguez’s Campaign Chairman following his arrest on drug charges after his Latte Heights home was raided in late April.

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