Last week, the NY Post set their sights on Bronx Assemblywoman Naomi Rivera, going after her for a secret, private Facebook account. Between comments that amounted to little more than bad jokes and slut shaming, they uncovered one potentially sordid piece of info: Rivera had put a younger Democrat who she was dating onto her payroll briefly. Today, the Post continues their investigation into Rivera, and have a more damning accusation than the fact Rivera "shows off her curves"—they allege that she used a taxpayer-funded nonprofit for her own expenses, and put in her unqualified boyfriend as the group’s leader.
The Post dug up Rivera's former boyfriend, personal trainer Vincent Pinela, who was executive director of the Bronx Council for Economic Development from 2006, when he started dating Rivera, until 2010, just after they broke up. “I had no background in nonprofits,” he told them. “I shouldn’t have been hired.” Among other things, he alleges that she would pay for romantic dinners for them through the Bronx Council funds, she paid her brother's production company over $40K for work at the Bronx Renaissance Festival in 2007, and she paid campaign expenses via the fund.
He also claims she insisted he get a pay hike after he started working for her: "After he was hired at $60,000, Rivera told him he needed to ask for a raise because she believed the couple 'needed to be able to go out and do things,' Pinela said she told him. His salary climbed to $75,000 just three months after he started." There are more sordid details about how they started dating (she was allegedly still living with her husband at the time), and the Rivera family's other improper financial behavior.
He says he broke up with her in March 2009, and she made it impossible for him to work there afterwards—mind you, at a job that he says he was completely unqualified for. He claims she denied him severance pay because he refused to sign a document stating he would not take action against Naomi or the council. He later filed a sexual-harassment complaint, but lost because Rivera wasn’t his “direct employer,” according to records.
Rivera commented on the story via email to the Post: “The allegations made by Mr. Pinela against me are untrue and are made intentionally and maliciously to defame my character, and to question my integrity. Friends, and constituents who know me, know that these are baseless accusations. I will not let myself be distracted from the work that needs to be done in my district.”