Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Is The Other Shoe About To Drop In The Sordid David Rivera Story?


It seems that the escalating scandal surrounding South Florida Republican House candidate and NRCC "Young Gun" David Rivera is going to present a series of problems for both Tea Party darling Marco Rubio and a Republican Party that hoped to turn the tables on the Culture of Corruption and turn it from a story about Cunningham, DeLay, Abramoff, Doolittle, Ney, etc to one about Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters.

There's growing chatter in Miami political circles these days that one of its most influential and controversial politicians is about to fall from grace. Reliable sources tell me that several major South Florida media outlets will soon be reporting that Miami GOP Chair and candidate for Congress David Rivera has a repeat domestic violence record dating back to 1994 and was caught lying about it to the press, something first reported here at DWT early last month.
This story's impending breakthrough into the mainstream media is sure to cause trouble for conservative rising star Marco Rubio. David Rivera is a self-proclaimed "disciple" of Rubio and served as his protégé and strong arm in the Florida Legislature. The two Florida politicians own a house together that went into foreclosure last month. Rubio headlined a fundraiser for Rivera last month in Washington DC and the two have traveled to Las Vegas and Los Angeles together for fundraisers.
Rubio, the bright shiny object of both the Tea Party and FOX News, embarrassed by the Sharron Angles, Ken Bucks and Rand Pauls, will be placed in an awkward spot when it is made public that his best friend has been accused of domestic violence and furthermore that he has put forward the absurd excuse that it is merely a case of mistaken identity.   

Like I said, we were the first to report of the Rivera domestic-violence scandal a month ago. This sent shock waves throughout the blogosphere, and now it appears that traditional outlets have picked up the story.

Some background on what this is all about...

• In July, Republican Marili Cancio, David Rivera's GOP primary opponent, pointed her Facebook supporters to a Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts public record listing where David M. Rivera (the same name as the candidate) is listed as a repeat domestic violence offender.

• David Rivera was called upon to resign as chairman of the Miami GOP but refused to step down at a meeting last month.

• Both Republican and Democratic political insiders I spoke to in Miami describe the Rivera domestic-violence rumors as "the worst kept secret in Miami Republican politics."

• I spoke to Marili Cancio, and in an interview I published at the Huffington Post she referred to Rivera as "the ultimate coward" and said Rivera has no business running for Congress with such a rap sheet.

• Initially, Rivera told a Spanish-language TV station this was the result of a computer glitch. "Nowadays you can put a name into a computer and all kinds of accusations come out," he said to AmericaTeVe.

Despite the silliness of Rivera's claim that computers just spit out domestic-violence allegations, he's alluding to an interesting point. His name may certainly be common in a city like Miami with such a large Hispanic population, and there's a possibility that it could be another David Rivera. So I did some research and asked some local friends what's going on.

A firsthand source told me that the NRCC asked Rivera about his domestic-violence past in April, and he told them it's a case of mistaken identity. Both the Miami New Times and the Miami Herald have also asked Rivera about his domestic-violence record, and he denies even knowing the woman, Jenia Dorticos. Given Rivera's history of being caught red-handed lying to reporters about the company he keeps (and just about everything), I dug a little deeper, and here's what I discovered.

• David Rivera the Republican politician is the only David M. Rivera that ever comes up when you conduct a public records search on the Miami-Dade County public records website where you can find his mortgage deed, etc.

• Several of the victim Jenia Dorticos' friends have refuted Rivera's claim that he doesn't know her and say the two dated in the 1990s.

• Rivera is photographed with Dorticos' mother at a fundraiser in April headlined by Scarface star Steven Bauer ("Manolo") [above].

• Rivera has been dodging reporters now for 14 days and has kicked them out of recent Republican events and offices.

• Marco Rubio (again, Rivera's closest friend) and David Rivera's attorneys have been intimidating and threatening South Florida media outlets with a $10 million lawsuit if they report this story. Of course, if Rivera's legal team wanted to, they could demand an injunction, but that would then force the state attorney's office and Rivera to turn over all evidence related to this case in court.

None of this behavior conjures up a picture of an innocent man. Rivera's candidacy has already been plagued by scandals since its inception. If Rivera were actually innocent, it should all be pretty easy to debunk. I heard he went to the Miami-Dade police station to get his fingerprints matched with any on file as part of a dog and pony show to "clear his name," but several family-law attorneys say the fact Rivera doesn't have an arrest record doesn't mean he was not a domestic-violence offender-- most cases and restraining orders are never reported to the police. It's pretty clear to me that Rivera and Rubio wouldn't be threatening reporters if this story wasn't accurate.

It goes without saying that we're on the brink of a major news story breaking in Miami with huge national implications for the NRCC and Republicans this fall. And the first potential casualty of this fallout could be Rubio.

Here's what DWT wants to know:

• Will Marco Rubio distance himself from his closest confidant? The bonds between Rivera and Rubio are strong. The two owned a home-- many say a party pad-- in Tallahassee that recently went into foreclosure. The duo were spotted in Vegas and LA a few months ago with Miami businessman Ariel Pereda (whom Rivera denied even knowing to the Miami Herald).

• Will the "party of family values" support a repeat domestic-violence offender? When will Pete Sessions say "enough is enough" and realize Rivera's presence on the "Young Guns" list is tainting all the candidates on it with his stink?

• Will Mike Huckabee and others withdraw their support for Rivera?

I have a very strong feeling we're going to have the answers to these questions within the next few days. Like I said, many domestic-violence cases never make it to the last hearing because of fear, embarrassment, etc. In this case there may have been something else at play. Coming soon, an interesting GOP primary campaign mailer from Rivera's 2002 race.

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At 9:01 AM, Anonymous patriotaxe said...

Vitter is sitting on a similar story with a violent aide. No, I have no idea if Vitter is sitting on it while wearing a diaper.


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