Letitia King, director of public affairs for the Broadcasting Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., wrote today to tell me it was a "clerical error."
Below is the text of her letter:
Dear Mr. Eaton
In your recent post you describe alleged payments by Radio Martí to former contractors. This item called our attention to a glitch in an online filing that is being addressed.
The list of contractors paid by the government is publicly posted in the Federal Procurement Data System, a reporting system where agencies report for the public all procurement transactions over $3,000. What you discovered was a clerical error, but this error does not reflect the actual payments, which were correct and appropriately made when individuals were employed by the Martís.
The first former contractor you reference, Gilberto Dihigo, was last paid in April 2012 when his contract expired. Likewise, the last payment made to Manuel Vazquez was on November 28, 2011, shortly after he resigned on Nov. 18, 2011.
The information cited in the blog was incorrect information recorded in FPDS that we are in the process of correcting, but there were no payments made to these contractors on those later dates in 2013. We ask that you revise your blog posting to reflect this reality.
If you have further questions about the Martís, I hope you'll be in touch.
Records also showed that the OCB paid Cuban journalist Manuel Vazquez Portal $465 on July 17, 2013, more than a year and a half after he left the station.
I asked King how it happened, who was to blame and whether it was a widespread problem. She replied:
The error was someone from the admin office who put the wrong name in the FPDS system.
The $13,200 was actually correctly paid to Yanel Fuentes but mistakenly recorded in FPDS under Gilbert Dihigo’s name. Gilbert Dihigo did not receive these funds - FPDS does not reflect actual bank exchange information but an administrative list.
We have no reason to believe this is a widespread problem but understand it is an incidental clerical error.
Hope that clarifies.
|Manuel Vázquez Portal|
Thank you for flagging the issue. Naturally, if there are inaccurate records, we want to correct them. I will share you note with our admin folks if you don't mind.If any readers have additional information they would like to share, feel free to pass it along.