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Puerto Rican Day Parade Could Be in Jeopardy Amid Sponsorship Deal Investigation

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TWC News: Puerto Rican Day Parade Could Be in Jeopardy Amid Sponsorship Deal Investigation
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The Puerto Rican Day Parade is a springtime staple for those who line the route, and for those marching, but an investigation by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is shaking up the board, and some say it's jeopardizing the beloved event. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

It's a ritual on Fifth Avenue: colorful, festive, and full of Puerto Rican Pride. Behind the scenes, it's said to have been troubled, with mishandled finances.

Now, the organization that runs the parade is being shaken up at the order of state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. His office started reviewing the parade's organization last May and is expected to release his findings this week.

Already, he's gotten the longtime chief executive, Madelyn Lugo, to resign under protest.

"I believe that this is injustice for me, to resign as a member of the board," Lugo said. "I've been working with this board for a very, very, very long time."

Lugo, though, admitted that she failed to properly oversee its finances. She and others say that its outside business and marketing agent is accused of taking money.

"We always at the table asking for documentation, but you receive a report and you receive some backup documentation to the report, you cannot go to a private company and look into the records," Lugo said.

That agent declined to comment, as did the attorney general's office.

Sources say the agent may be forced to pay restitution, but perhaps not as much as he took.

The parade is the second Sunday in June. That may seem like a while from now, but some fear that new organizers wouldn't have enough time to put it together properly. For that, they blame the attorney general.

"He will kill the parade. There will be no parade," said state Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx. "This is against the Puerto Rican community."

"If the attorney general was serving the people of New York, and specifically the Puerto Rican people of this city, which are numerous, and the tradition and respect for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, he would have assigned a monitor," said NY1 political commentator Gerson Borrero.

In an interview with a Spanish language network on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he'll march.

Schneiderman is looking to install a new board. The question is, will it be ready for its Fifth Avenue closeup?

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