The Puerto Rican Day Parade is among the city’s most time-honored traditions, and it might not happen this year. Two members of the parade’s board—including its president—have stepped down in the wake of a probe by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office is investigating the event after beer company Coors opted to promote its sponsorship by emblazoning special edition cans with the parade’s logo last year.
Board president Madelyn Lugo and member Maria Roman were both forced to resign, NY1 reports, and if Schneiderman has his way, the station’s sources claim the rest of the board may follow suit.
Schneiderman’s office has declined to comment.
The Coors sponsorship raised hackles in that allowing a beer company to so closely associate itself with the city’s largest parade sends an inappropriate message, particularly since last year’s theme was “Celebrating Your Health.” Still, NPR reports that the company has been a sponsor for the past seven years.
What enrages supporters, however, isn’t the investigation itself, but that it began so late in the year. State Senator Ruben Diaz has been vocal in his disgust on how the probe has been handled, accusing the AG of intentionally sabotaging the 56-year-old parade, which attracts more than a million spectators each year. He said in an interview he intends to hold an open meeting with Lugo on Thursday to more thoroughly examine the details of her resignation.
“If we find that she’s been persecuted, that this Hispanic woman has been abused, we will hold a demonstration,” he told us, adding that the timing of the investigation “doesn’t smell right.”
“The attorney general has had ample time to do whatever he wants to do—now he’s waited until 3 months beforehand to destroy the parade,” he said. “We won’t allow that to happen.”
As to whether the investigation into the Coors arrangement holds any water, Diaz said that’s besides the point.
“Whatever happened, it’s not my concern—my concern is the parade.”
By Lauren Evans i