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Fri Aug 24, 2018, 06:00 PM

Buenos Aires Province School Infrastructure head fired on padded contract allegations, two deaths

The Director of School Infrastructure for Argentina's Buenos Aires Province, Mateo Nicholson, was dismissed today amid a brewing scandal over allegations of submitting padded contracts, and following two deaths in a public school gas explosion.

Governor María Eugenia Vidal has faced mounting calls to dismiss Nicholson since audio emerged on June 15 which appears to show him arranging a padded contract - particularly after the August 2 death of a principal and substitute teacher during a gas explosion in a grade school west of Buenos Aires.

"I'm meeting María Eugenia tomorrow, and I need to invent the missing budgets," he can be heard saying. "Give me the total on those 79 ovens and make it for 80 million (pesos), which is what I requested - because what you gave me worked out to 700,000 pesos each for the first 17. Overshoot that number."

Nicholson's order, which implies an overpayment of 300,000 pesos ($12,000 at the time) per oven, came with a detailed instruction as to how to avoid suspicion:

"Don't make it a round number: give me a quote for, say, 1,064,000 pesos each. And don't worry about the exact figure; we'll fix it in the draft proposal."

The corruption scandal and subsequent tragedy have created a new political headache for Governor María Eugenia Vidal, an ultraconservative member of President Mauricio Macri's right-wing "Let's Change" alliance.

Vidal, widely rumored to being groomed by the unpopular Macri to run in his stead in next year's presidential elections, is already facing a federal investigation over evidence uncovered since June that her party's 2017 mid-term campaigns in Buenos Aires Province laundered around 45 million pesos ($3 million at the time) in illegal contributions.

Possible campaign finance ties to Nicholson's overpayments are also being investigated.

As head of the nation's largest province (home to 38% of Argentines), Vidal, 44, became a media darling after winning the 2015 governor's race in an upset.

One of the nation's most popular politicians just last year, her job approval has declined to 34% amid violent crackdowns on protesters, a series of scandals, and the worst recession since 2002.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pagina12.com.ar%2F137511-eyectado-tras-la-explosion&edit-text=

Nicholson and his political mentor, far-right governor María Eugenia Vidal.

Facing an imploding debt bubble, Argentina's Macri was believed to favor tapping Vidal to run in his stead next year. Recent events may have forced him to reconsider.

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Reply Buenos Aires Province School Infrastructure head fired on padded contract allegations, two deaths (Original post)
sandensea Aug 2018 OP
Judi Lynn Aug 2018 #1
sandensea Aug 2018 #2

Response to sandensea (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2018, 07:48 PM

1. I hope the voters will NOT be forgetting Mara Eugenia Vidal's corruption by next year.

They had no idea what was going to happen to Argentina when Macri's people concocted the idea of "Let's Change."

Some change, isn't it?

Really hoping Macri will not be able to bring this seasoned corrupt person in to take over the Presidency. Hope Argentina will have had enough of all his "reform" and will move quickly to get rid of all of them.

So creepy.

Thank you, sandensea.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 24, 2018, 10:24 PM

2. The worse things get for Macri (and by extension Vidal), the more Trumpian they become.

The most glaring example, of course, are the renewed attacks on Cristina Kirchner.

Her home, as you posted earlier, was raided on orders from Macri's "napkin" (i.e. pocket) judge, Claudio Bonadío - who has been illegally "given" almost all cases related to the former president (rather than being assigned by random drawing, as the law calls for).

No specific reason was given; but the real reason? GDP was reported to have plummeted 6.7% that very day.

The Vidal campaign finance scandal also took another step forward in court (despite being slowed by presidential threats).

That, by the way, is probably where a lot of Nicholson's overpayments for those went: to campaign coffers (minus a cut for himself and Vidal, no doubt). You'll recall that this was precisely the kind of shenanigans that led to Rajoy's recent impeachment in Spain.

As for the raid on Kirchner's apartment, you'll be intrigued to know that her lawyer was barred from staying as a witness - as the law explicitly requires.

They were in her main residence (in the apartment building pictured above) for 13 hours, I might add.

With no real witnesses, it's safe to assume they planted Israeli-supplied bugs (purchased last year, for the very purpose of espionage against opponents) - and possibly radioactive agents, à la Karen Silkwood.

Cristina Kirchner herself seems to be taking it in stride though. And besides: every time they look for her "loot," they only end up finding more of Macri's.

And they wouldn't have to look far.

Just a block from that building, in fact, Macri keeps his "blind" trust - something which Argentine law makes no provision for at all. His millions, of course, he keeps in Panama.

Thanks as always, Judi.

Macri: "This raid on Cristina's home makes me jittery."

His wife (the sweatshop owner): "Why?"

Macri: "I dunno. But every time they look for something on her, they find something on me!"

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