Ruben Diaz: ‘I Have My Own Demons’

 Ruben Diaz: I Have My Own Demons

Senator Ruben Diaz (Photo: RubenDiaz.com)

State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. sent out an epic press release today in which he again denied any involvement in the scandal surrounding his charity, accused Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of having a vendetta against him and urged local media to “go back to journalism school.”

“I am not a saint, and neither do I claim to walk on water. I have my own demons, but I assure you that they are not about a corrupt mind abusing the trust and confidence that my constituents have placed in me,” Mr. Diaz said.”

Mr. Diaz’s lengthy letter blasting the attorney general’s office and the press for looking at his charity’s finances was entitled, “God Hates Ugly and He is Watching.”

Last Tuesday, Mr. Diaz’s campaign treasurer, Clement Gardner, was charged with stealing $75,000 from the Christian Community Benevolent Association. CCBA was founded by Mr. Diaz and Mr. Gardner served as the organization’s fiscal officer. In a press release announcing the indictment, Mr. Schneiderman said Mr. Gardner “co-signed at least $75,000 in unauthorized checks to himself” and “devised false memo lines for each payment to escape detection, endorsed the checks to himself, and cashed these checks or deposited them into his personal bank account.” Mr. Diaz’s statement speculated the charges against Mr. Gardner may have to do with Mr. Schneiderman’s animosity towards him.

“You should also know that there is no love lost between State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and myself. There has always been a personal confrontation and disagreement between us dating back to 2002 when I got elected to the New York State Senate and started promoting my philosophy and belief,” Mr. Diaz wrote.

The indictment against Mr. Gardner is based on a confession he allegedly made to an FBI agent in 2007. Mr. Diaz took note of this in his press release as well as pointing out the money allegedly taken by Mr. Gardner came from donations rather than taxpayer funding assigned through the Legislature. Mr. Diaz’s use of Legislative member items has previously been scrutinized.

“Mr. Schneiderman based his charges for this indictment on a reported confession made by Mr. Gardner to an FBI agent almost five years ago when Mr. Schneiderman was not yet an Attorney General,” Mr. Diaz said, adding Mr. Gardner allegedly said “he money he embezzled was from donations that the organization received from private companies – not, I repeat, not money from any member items nor any money assigned by Members of the State Legislature.”

Mr. Diaz criticized Mr. Schneiderman for failing to mention these distinctions in his press conference. He also said reporters have not included these details in coverage of the scandal. Mr. Diaz said this proves both the attorney general and the media are unfairly trying to smear him.

“Neither Eric Schneiderman at his press conference nor any reporters had the decency to mention these particularly important issues,” Mr. Diaz said. “Not that it makes it right if Mr. Gardner really committed these crimes, but it will make a lot of difference in peoples’ minds to see how conniving, destructive and malicious some have been trying to portray me.”

Mr. Diaz said Mr. Gardner’s indictment “caught everyone” involved with the CCBA “by suprise” because “Mr. Gardner has always been a decent, trustworthy and responsible individual committed to his work” and “there have been private auditors who have been responsible to conduct audits and document any wrongdoing.” Though he said, “it is my prayer and sincere hope that Mr. Clement Gardner has not committed these serious atrocities,” Mr. Diaz said Mr. Gardner should “be punished to the fullest extent of the law” if he is found guilty. Though he left open the possibility Mr. Gardner may have done something wrong, Mr. Diaz clearly suspects the incdictment may stem from the attorney general and the media’s desire to attack him personally.

“Knowing the lack of love between Eric Schneiderman and myself, I have to say that it is easy to indict a ham sandwich, it’s easy to hold a press conference to destroy the reputation and character of families, it’s easy to make headlines,” Mr. Diaz said. “I really hope that this is not another publicity stunt and another attempt to get even with Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz.”

Mr. Diaz has some advice for those he believes are trying to hurt him.

“I advise Eric Schneiderman to hurry up because I believe that the statute of limitations has run out on Mr. Clement Gardner,” Mr Diaz said. “To all of the very responsible press people who fabricated all kinds of stories to discredit and get back at the man with the cowboy hat and the big mouth: my advice is to read the indictment, digest it, go back to journalism school, and learn how to be honest, impartial, decent, objective and fair reporters.”

Mr. Diaz finished his release with a Puerto Rican proverb to prove the attorney general and media might simply be examining alleged corruption at his charity because they have “corrupt minds.”

“In Puerto Rico there is an old adage that goes something like this: ‘The thief believes that, like himself, everyone else is also a thief,'” Mr. Diaz said. “I’d like to add that the corrupted person and all of the corrupted journalists all see corruption around them. In their corrupt minds, they have an inability to see any of the good in another person.”

Read Mr. Diaz’s entire press release below.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz

God Hates Ugly and He is Watching

A few days ago, the New York State Attorney General conducted a press conference to announce that thanks to the good work of his office, he just indicted Mr. Clement Gardner, the chief fiscal officer of the Christian Community Benevolent Association for criminally directing payments to himself.
Mr. Schneiderman based his charges for this indictment on a reported confession made by Mr. Gardner to an FBI agent almost five years ago when Mr. Schneiderman was not yet an Attorney General.

According to Mr. Bullets Campbell, the FBI agent, Mr. Gardner told him that between 2004 and 2007, he wrote and issued some checks to his name, that he embezzled $75,000 from the Christian Community Benevolent Association, and that the money he embezzled was from donations that the organization received from private companies – not, I repeat, not money from any member items nor any money assigned by Members of the State Legislature.

Neither Eric Schneiderman at his press conference nor any reporters had the decency to mention these particularly important issues. Not that it makes it right if Mr. Gardner really committed these crimes, but it will make a lot of difference in peoples’ minds to see how conniving, destructive and malicious some have been trying to portray me.

You should know that the news of Mr. Gardner’s indictment caught everyone by surprise because to all of us, Mr. Gardner has always been a decent, trustworthy and responsible individual committed to his work.
You should also know that every year – especially since 2003 – there have been private auditors who have been responsible to conduct audits and document any wrongdoing.

To make matters worse and even more confusing, Mr. Gardner – the one who apparently confessed to the FBI agent that he embezzled and stole money, went to court and in front of a judge, pleaded innocent to the charges of what he supposedly confessed to doing.

You should also know that there is no love lost between State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and myself. There has always been a personal confrontation and disagreement between us dating back to 2002 when I got elected to the New York State Senate and started promoting my philosophy and belief.

Que sera, Que sera. Exactly what does Eric Schneiderman have? Could it be that he has a botched undercover operation, a botched felony arrest, and a botched smear campaign?

According to court documents released to and posted online by the press, Mr. Gardner’s indictment is based on a confession he made almost five years ago, and only Mr. Gardner can identify the checks and vouchers he wrote and deposited to his personal account. I still don’t believe that Mr. Gardner was capable of committing such a low and criminal act, betraying such a beautiful and committed community-minded organization and the trust we all placed in him. But as I have said in one of my previous columns “Cursed is the one who trusts in man.” (Jeremiah 17:5)

The Christian Community Benevolent Association is an organization that I founded in 1977, and for 25 years I gave my time serving as its Executive Director on a volunteer basis without receiving compensation.

This organization, for the past 35 years, has been a jewel in the Bronx protecting senior citizens, building affordable housing, and creating programs to provide many different services for the needy and poor residents of the South Bronx.

When practically everyone abandoned the South Bronx – banks red-lighted the area, companies left, housing was burned to the ground – I was there with the Christian Community Benevolent Association and with members of our staff to create job opportunities and look out for and protect what was left.

I am proud and honored to know that staff members and volunteers gave their time and sweat to help others make the Christian Community Benevolent Association an organization that at one time created job opportunities for more than 1,300 people when everyone else abandoned us. Even my three children at very early ages went with us to serve meals and provide services to senior citizens.

Knowing the lack of love between Eric Schneiderman and myself, I have to say that it is easy to indict a ham sandwich, it’s easy to hold a press conference to destroy the reputation and character of families, it’s easy to make headlines.

It is my prayer and sincere hope that Mr. Clement Gardner has not committed these serious atrocities. If he has actually committee the barbaric and repugnant act of stealing donated money from good people who help an organization dedicated to senior citizens, handicapped children and the needy, then he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

I really hope that this is not another publicity stunt and another attempt to get even with Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz. I really hope that this effort is not going to try to imitate what former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo did to Pedro Espada when he publicly accused him of stealing $14 million dollars and never followed up – but made sure he lost his bid for re-election.

I advise Eric Schneiderman to hurry up because I believe that the statute of limitations has run out on Mr. Clement Gardner. Or it’s too late and the statute has run out.
You should know that everyone is advising me to keep quiet and not talk about this, but my love for the Christian Community Benevolent Association, its staff members and the community is too great. The people we served for so many years and whose good work we did will never die.

Remember and never forget: God hates ugly and he is still watching.

I am not only a State Senator but I am a pastor, a minister, and the President of an organization comprised of more than 150 Pentecostal ministers throughout the City and State of New York. I am the one who preaches the Word of God every Sunday.

I am not a saint, and neither do I claim to walk on water. I have my own demons, but I assure you that they are not about a corrupt mind abusing the trust and confidence that my constituents have placed in me. My wife, my children, my friends and my constituents will never be embarrassed by what these accusers suggest.

To all of the very responsible press people who fabricated all kinds of stories to discredit and get back at the man with the cowboy hat and the big mouth: my advice is to read the indictment, digest it, go back to journalism school, and learn how to be honest, impartial, decent, objective and fair reporters.

In Puerto Rico there is an old adage that goes something like this: “The thief believes that, like himself, everyone else is also a thief.” I’d like to add that the corrupted person and all of the corrupted journalists all see corruption around them. In their corrupt minds, they have an inability to see any of the good in another person.

I am Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.