After a scandal and a shakeup, organizers of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade are promising the event will move forward, a promise that is being backed up the the speaker of the City Council. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Expect to see flags waving on Fifth Avenue. So says City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the organizers of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade.
"We need to be seen in a positive light," Mark-Viverito said.
Three months ago, the parade's pockets were empty and its future uncertain. State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had just shook up the group's board after a fundraiser bilked the organization for about $1 million.
On Tuesday, the parade's new board was promising to march on and unveiling its list of honorees. The City Council speaker was front and center.
"It's just really inspiring to see people that are giving of themselves to make sure that this tradition continues, because it means so much," Mark-Viverito said.
Mark-Viverito, along with Rep. Nydia Velazquez will be grand marshals.
"We need to do this right because this is an institution," Velazquez said.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor turned organizers down.
A Council source told NY1 that members of the speaker's staff have been assisting parade organizers. The speaker herself promises a full accounting of how money raised for the parade is spent.
"The AG continues to be involved," Mark-Viverito said. "There was a thorough vetting of everyone that is on this board, and there's expectations that are being laid out with regards to the monies that are raised and what it's being used for."
Money that amounts to about $700,000 so far, said board chairperson Lorraine Cortés-Vazquez. Much of it comes from corporate sponsors like McDonald's and Coke.
"Parades cost money," Cortés-Vazquez said. "Even just security details, bleachers, port-a-potties. All the things I didn't know six weeks ago."
The board does not have much time to tie up any loose ends. The parade is on June 8, meaning in less than a month, 10,000 people will be marching on Fifth Avenue.
When NY1 asked the attorney general whether he was confident the new board could pull it off, he said, "Espero que sí." He said he hopes so.