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Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. skipping Sunday’s Bronx Puerto Rican Day over brawl with parade organizer

Miffed Boro Prez skipping Sunday’s Bronx Puerto Rican Parade

Bronx Times
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Puerto Rican pride - and for that matter, Latino pride – will be on display Sunday, June 1 as the 27th annual Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade steps off on the Grand Concourse.

But one usual marcher, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., will be missing this year, skipping the parade on purpose.

Seems there’s no love lost between the BP and parade organizer Francisco Gonzalez.

Diaz and the longtime district manager of Soundview’s Community Board 9 have had a rocky relationship over various local issues over the years, with Diaz trying to oust him from the board.

The estrangement came to a head last year when the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board fined Gonzalez $7,500 for performing parade organizing work on city time out of the district office.

Gonzalez remains the CEO of the non-profit parade organization.

Diaz’s office said Wednesday that the borough president would be spending Sunday attending the Bronx Historical Society’s annual ceremony honoring Bronx high school valedictorians.

But Diaz’ absence from the parade won’t stop a host of smiling borough and citywide elected officials, many of them up for reelection, from marching up the Grand Concourse, waving Puerto Rican flags to crowds lining the sidewalks.

This year’s parade, featuring more than a hundred local, national and international groups, will again reverse its long standing traditional course, stepping off from 190th Street at 1 p.m. and wending its way up to Van Cortlandt Avenue East for a post-parade festival.

Sponsored this year by LaSorsa Auto Group, the parade’s opening ceremonies will be at 192nd Street at 11 a.m. after a VIP reception in Poe Park at 10 a.m.

Organizers are calling the parade “the largest Multi Cultural Event held in the Bronx that is celebrating the diversity of the Puerto Rican Culture and People.”

The parade, founded by Angel Luis Rosado in 1987 with about 10-15 organizations marching that year, is representative of the growth of Puerto Ricans in the Bronx, with the largest population of Puerto Rican outside to the their beloved Caribbean island numbering over 350,000 strong in the borough.

This year’s honorees are the La Fiesta Folklorica Puertorriquena, Aurea Mangual, President and Special Recognition to Oscar Lopez Rivera.

The group held a press preview on Thursday, May 29 at which it presented its “queens, kings, princes and princesses,” selected after earlier competitions.

The “Godfather” of this year’s parade is George Hulse of Healthfirst.

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.
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