Thursday, July 15, 2010
Will the REAL David Rivera please stand up?
Blogs have been abuzz since last week (WFOR Channel 4 News and The Miami Herald are working on a real story, we hear) about a 16-year-old Miami-Dade Family Court document that paints a David M. Rivera -- purportedly the state rep who is running for Congress -- as a repeat domestic abuser.
Rep. David Rivera (whose barely uses his M for Mauricio) says it's not him and that he doesn't know the victim named in the document, Jenia Dorticos. He says the allegations are "desperate, false, negative attacks." The woman, who Ladra reached in Brooklyn by telephone this week (as far as we know, the only source she talked to), also said it was a case of mistaken identity.
"It's not him," said Dorticos, a software engineer who contributed $474 to the Obama campaign in 2008.
"That guy was a musician," Dorticos said about her David M. Rivera.
And in an only in Miami twist: Dorticos is said to be the grand niece of Osvaldo Dorticos Torrado, the second president of Cuba under Fidel Castro's rule and a close Castro ally. Ladra is still trying to reach her brother, Jorge Raul Castro Dorticos (I did not make that name up), a personal trainer in Miami Beach. Another relative is Catherine Dorticos, who works for the Cuban Institute of TV and Film, according to her facebook profile, which also lists several pages that could be seen as friendly to the regime. A facebook photo trail also led to Dr. Francisco Dorticos, who was chief the department of bypasses at Cuba's Institute of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery and a vocal opponent of the embargo. Likely a coincidence but just wait for the allegations of espionage and sabotage here (3...2...1...).
What we do know is that according to a courthouse document obtained by Ladra (which does not prove who the abuser is), a temporary injunction or restraining order was granted on Oct. 13, 1994 against Jenia's David M. Rivera and an emergency hearing was scheduled for Oct. 28. The hearing was reset for Nov. 7 and the restraining order was automatically extended to Nov. 9 to cover the time delay. (Standard procedure).
But Jenia Dorticos never showed up for the hearing and the case was dismissed. That certainly doesn't mean the abuse never happened because victims get scared and discouraged all the time.
But it also doesn't mean it was the David M. Rivera, chairman of the Miami-Dade Republican Party.
Rivera was living in D.C. during much of the Cuban rafter crisis and the aftermath, or from about August 1994 well into 1995, at the home of Yvonne Soler McKinley, who today is Doral City Manager and was former city manager in South Miami. She confirmed this to Ladra.
But that doesn't necessarily clear him, either. He certainly could have commuted to Miami once in a while.
Rivera's facebook page has him mugging in two photos with Hilda Rabilero (photo above with Steven Bauer and an unidentified man), who is apparently Jenia Dorticos' mother and lives in the same Collins Avenue condominium as Jorge Raul Castro Dorticos.
But that still doesn't mean he knows her daughter. It's a small world. (Who isn't in photos on some profiles of people we don't really know or never met before that event.).
Dorticos confirmed to Ladra that she lived in Miami in 1994 and had dated a David who became a bit of a problem. She would not go into details, saying also that she barely remembered the incident, and did not return repeated follow-up calls since Monday. (Five times. Ladra left her five messages and she has not called back).
But she clearly told Ladra her David was not a rising Republican political star. "He was doing nothing, going nowhere," she said about her musician boyfriend.
That year, Rivera got a master's degree from Florida International University, lived part time at least in D.C., worked for TV and Radio Marti and traveled back and forth to GITMO. Hardly doing nothing. Ladra has heard him sing -- at the same fundraiser last year attended by Dorticos' mom (see? small world, indeed) -- with Steven Bauer of ¿Que Pasa USA?, Scarface and Thief of Hearts. And while he is no Willy Chirino, he can carry a tune. (Not, however, a good career choice if this race sours for him.).
So far, the accusation -- which first appeared in 2002 in a mailer from Rivera's then opponent and again last week in the Down With Tyranny blog by Howie Klein, a known Democrat supporter -- is unsubstantiated and circumstantial at best. Machiavellian at worst. Ladra had been working on clearing up the hearsay with facts since last week and spoke to Jenia Dorticos Monday. She had wanted to wait for more solid proof before posting. But since it has now been repeated and recirculated on the Miami-Dade Democratic Party blog and the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/howie-klein/miami-gop-house-candidate_b_646139.html) as well as published in Diario de las Americas, we decided to put it all out there now and let the readers decide.
It also serves as a be-on-the-lookout: Ladra is still on the prowl to find the real David M. Rivera of this document. It has become important and, frankly, bigger than the incident itself. While I abhor domestic abuse -- whether it be physical, verbal or emotional -- we all know that there are false accusations, or not just false but impulsive and exaggerated, born from arguments and breakups and infidelities. It's just very difficult to know exactly what happened 16 years ago. (Unless the real David M. Rivera stands up).
No. That has become background now. The real story, the reason I have to post this already and keep sniffing out the truth is because we could be looking at one of two possible scenarios: It could turn out that the second most influential Republican in South Florida lied repeatedly rather than own up to the truth. Or it could be that the Democratic Party or one of its zealots took advantage of a long-whispered piece of trashy gossip and used a document that was either simply conveniently vague or, worse, known to be false to smear the front-running Rivera (unnecessarily, really, because David has been doing a good job of smearing himself lately).
Case in point: Ladra first got flagged to the Tyranny blog by Ric Herrero, the new executive director of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, who emailed me. He later told me he got it sent to him from someone at the Joe Garcia (D) campaign.
"It's not my job to verify the veracity of things that [I] come across," Herrero told Ladra last week when she asked him why he shared it with who knows how many contacts on his personal gmail email list without confirming it. (It was his personal gmail account, but he and I met a few weeks ago at a Latin American Democratic Club event and I gave him my business card).
Ladra found Jenia Dorticos pretty easily. She is on facebook (isn't everyone?) and we have a few friends in common. Among them is a woman who actively supports Obama and Joe Garcia. She and another friend uninvolved in the campaign told me Dorticos had moved to New York (Brooklyn jived with my internet research). I dialed 411 and a day after leaving a voice mail message, Dorticos called me back and provided a cellphone number on my voice mail (I still have it, but now she hasn't called back after five more messages. That still doesn't prove anything.).
The Tyranny blog also said the other two Republican candidates in the District 25 race, Marili Cancio and Paul Crespo, would raise the issue last week at the REC meeting. That didn't happen. While the two said Rivera should step down because his chairmanship of the party is a conflict of interest and made it unfair for their campaigns, they never brought up any domestic incident.
On Wednesday, though, Cancio posted the link to the Huffington Post as her status on facebook. This morning, she told me she knows that the David Rivera in the document is the state rep. She repeated a claim made to Ladra by other, unnamed sources who do have an agenda or are involved in the campaign, that they had document to link this David with that David. None of that documentation has materialized.
Again, none of the promised documentation has materialized.
My sources also tell me that Channel 4's Jim DeFede and the Miami Herald's Scott Hiassen are also working on this story. I wonder if they got the documents. And when will they weigh in. I can't wait.
Will the real David M. Rivera please stand up? Will Jenia Dorticos ever call me back? Will Hilda Rabilero, please call me (and invite me on her GenTV show)? Will anybody who knows this family please tell them to just come let us know one way or the other if this is true or false?
Stay tuned... Ladra is restless and sniffing the air... more about this will surely come.
Posted by Ladra, the public watch dog at 11:32 AM