Dogged reporting by Howie Klein, who publishes the blog DownWithTyranny, may be yielding dividends in the traditional media world in the quest to determine whether Republican Congressional candidate David Rivera has domestic violence in his past.
If you recall, Klein uncovered court records mailers linking a “David M. Rivera” to serial incidents of abuse against a woman, Jenia Dorticos, along with a flier produced by a Rivera opponent for the state House back in 2002, referencing the same court records and allegations. Mainstream media outlets have steered clear of the story, since the woman named in the documents isn’t talking, and Rivera denies any connection to domestic abuse.
Now, however, an incident in which Rivera allegedly ran a mail truck off the road eight years ago could come back to haunt his 2010 campaign. The following report ran on CBS 4 tonight — and ominously for Rivera, it represents the official entrance of investigative reporter Jim Defede into the fray. From the report:
As executive director of the Republican party in Miami-Dade, committeeman for the state GOP and state lawmaker since 2002, including the last two years as chairman of the Florida House Appropriations Committee David Mauricio Rivera has become a politically powerful state representative.
But as Rivera now tries to advance politically to the halls of the United States Congress, the CBS4 I-Team and the Miami Herald have uncovered discrepancies involving an incident that happened on the Palmetto Expressway in the run-up to the 2002 election.
That incident and Rivera’s response to it today raise serious questions.
According to a Florida Highway patrol crash report filed September 6, 2002, a truck working for Liberty Mailing services was delivering campaign flyers to US Post Office when the accident happened.
On board the truck were thousands of flyers put out by Rivera’s political opponent at the time.
The fliers included a last minute attack on Rivera’s character.
Before the truck could make it to the US Post Office, according to the FHP report, a car driven by David Mauricio Rivera struck it forcing the truck to the shoulder of the Palmetto Expressway right in the middle of evening traffic at 5:50pm, ten minutes before the truck’s deadline to get to the post office which was 6:00pm Eastern.
Rivera, who has refused to talk to CBS4 personally about the incident, released a statement that claims the accident happened because he wanted to pull the truck over on the Palmetto Expressway to “retrieve a batch of his own campaign fliers” that were also on the truck.
Rivera, in his statement, said he wanted to pull his fliers off the truck after learning Liberty Mail was “also producing mailers for Rivera’s opponent…”
Rivera says he agreed to rendezvous with the truck on the exit ramp of the Palmetto, where Rivera said he removed his fliers from the truck.
Dodd Printing, one of the largest printing and direct mail houses in Florida, servicing most of the major campaigns here, and which now owns Liberty Mail, disputes Rivera’s story that the truck willingly rendezvoused with Rivera, and the police report at the time indicates the driver says he was forced off the road in the middle of the Palmetto, not at an exit ramp.
CBS 4 didn’t elaborate on the “attacks on Rivera’s character” in the 2002 flyers that were reportedly on that truck, but Klein’s latest post doesn’t mince words:
After I published this post about how David Rivera beat up a woman, Rivera’s campaign manager called and threatened me with a lawsuit, although neither he nor his attorney ever called back. In 2002, when the GOP primary mailing about the vicious beating of a woman took place, Rivera was doing his own dirty work. Police report he actually personally rammed a truck that had the fliers to mail. He was his own thug and goon back in those days. Now he wants to be a U.S. congressman!
Watch the CBS 4 report:
Klein, who previously unearthed a photo of Rivera posing and smiling with the alleged victim’s mother, has a copy of the 2002 flyer, which reprint the public record of domestic incidents involving a “David M. Rivera” and a stock photo of an abused woman. The domestic violence allegations have been floated in the current campaign by Rivera’s GOP primary opponents.
Related: “Ladra,” the Republican-leaning blogger who publishes Political Cortadito, and who is skeptical about the Rivera claim, at one point tracked down Jenia Dorticos by phone (Dorticos now lives in Brooklyn) and attempted to get to the bottom of the story. But she was unable to get the woman to call her back.