Black Immigrant Daily News
Washington, D.C. – Natalie Jaresko is joining Ernst & Young (EY), the consulting firm that has advised the Oversight Board, where she served as Executive Director.
Gerry Dixon, EY’s managing partner, announced on social media that Jaresko was joining the firm.
Dixon said Jaresko, who was responsible for the Board?s operations for five years until March 31, 2022, will be an “Executive Director in @EY_Parthenon’s Turnaround & Restructuring Strategy practice focused on GPS”, and added that they are “thrilled to have her join our GPS family!”.
Along with McKinsey & Co, Ernst & Young is one the most important consultants in the Board’s restructuring decisions, but also in budgetary and governance matters.
By August 2022, EY had charged $67 million for its services to the Board, according to the Fiscal Agency & Financial Advisory Authority (FAFAA).
However, this does not represent the complete amount billed by the consulting firm. Before the government pays these contractors, the invoices must be reviewed by Brady C. Williamson, Title III fee examiner, and approved by U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.
Jaresko served as Minister of Finance for Ukraine. She was born in the Chicago area to Ukrainian parents. For the past year, she has been active in promoting aid to Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
She is now joining a company whose work she oversaw until a year ago.
As a former Board official, Jaresko is not subject to Puerto Rico government ethics rules. For example, if she had been a senior official in the Puerto Rican Executive Branch, she would have had to wait until the end of the year to take a position with a company that has contracts with the government.
On social media, Jaresko suggested that she had not yet begun working yet.
Since its creation about seven years ago, Andrea Bonime-Blanc has served as an ethics advisor for the Board, but the entity did not respond to a question from this newspaper about who addresses ethics matters.
El Nuevo D?a also asked the Board if it has ethics rules determining the period a former entity’s employee must wait before joining a company that has or has had contracts with the Board. The entity did not answer that question either.
“The Board wishes Natalie Jaresko well in her new position. Her contract with the Board included appropriate confidentiality and conflict of interest provisions and is public record. Ms. Jaresko is not working on any matters related to Puerto Rico,” the entity said in a written statement.
But Puerto Rico House Speaker Rafael “Tatito” Hern?ndez Monta?ez called Jaresko’s contract with Ernst & Young “immoral.”
For Hern?ndez Monta?ez, the Jaresko case reminded him of the contract awarded to Luis Fortu?o’s lobbying firm, Steptoe & Johnson, which was made official days after he left the governor’s office and after the Washington law firm had contracts worth nearly $20 million with his administration.
Before he left the governor’s office, in December 2012, the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) validated Fortu?o’s hiring by Steptoe, understanding that he had not directly signed the contracts with the law firm.
Hern?ndez Monta?ez reiterated that in Jaresko’s case, the point is to work with a contractor “who has been tied to all of her actions for five or six years.”
“Scandalous,” said Eva Prados, spokesperson for the Citizens’ Front for the Debt Audit, on social media upon learning that Jaresko had been hired by Ernst & Young.
Board member Justin Peterson slyly criticized the hiring, suggesting on his Twitter account that he wondered “if she asked for sealed bids from both Ernst and Young and @McKinsey?”
Had Jaresko been a Puerto Rico government official under Puerto Rico law, the Government Ethics Act would have prohibited her from “holding an office, having monetary interest or contract, directly or indirectly, with an agency, private person or business, over which he/she has taken an official action during the year preceding the termination of his/her employment”
Among other things, for two years, she could not “provide information, intervene, cooperate, advise in any way or represent directly or indirectly a private person, business or public entity before the agency for which he/she worked.”
Joanisabel Gonz?lez collaborated with this story.