San Juan mayor under fire for possible $1 assignment of a historic building over a 10-year period
The mayor’s office did not loop in community organizations during the negotiation period. Jake Paul wants to turn the building into a gym.
Last week, community leaders in La Perla, a historic San Juan neighborhood, decried a move by San Juan mayor Miguel Romero for allegedly entering into negotiations over the sale of a longstanding building for $1 dollar on a 10-year agreement period without consultation.
Local outlets reported the nonprofit organization to which the building was given, Team La Perla Boxing, a group backed by Jake Paul, had no ties to the community. In April, Paul appeared on the organization’s Instagram page to announce the finished renovations.
Community leaders told local outlets of multiple attempts to restore the structure, which previously served as a community center for locals, and was declared a cultural heritage site by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP).
“It’s not only a threat to our history, but it underscores the attempt to remove us from our community, or gentrification, that already threatens other parts of San Juan and the rest of the island,” said Yashira Gómez, president of the Community Board working to preserve the structure.
The organization also said the mayor’s office never approached the Community Board to evaluate the state of renovations, as far back as April, when the Paul-backed nonprofit installed gym equipment.
In a statement, Romero denied reports that the structure had been sold off and any negotiations surrounding the sale are still pending.
“The Legislature’s authorization does not constitute an assignment, as the municipality has not granted in writing the assignment of the entity,” the statement reads.
The same statement also said a legal body will meet with community leaders and other members to discuss any concerns surrounding the assignment, and confirmed the building will not be sell without the community’s consent.
Reportedly, the municipality moved to assign the building to Team La Perla Boxing following a bipartisan, unanimous vote after reading through a proposal that said renovations were performed for community purposes.
Read the full remarks here.
The document approved by the local legislature outlines the use of the building to include “extracurricular activities,” as well as other community-led projects to reach low-income families. The document makes no mention of Jake Paul, one of the nonprofit’s benefactors, who sold his brother’s Rolex to fund renovations
“This means a lot. All of this is for the kids. We just saw; I took Logan’s Rolex for the kids. We’re gonna renovate a gym with that Rolex,” Paul said in a statement in December of 2021, after defeating his brother in a game of rock, papers, scissors.
The website promoting the building’s renovation calls the neighborhood “a place to never visit.”
“We’ve always been told that criminals and narcs lived there, which created a very dangerous image,” it continues.
Paul drew controversy last year when he announced plans to move his business to Puerto Rico to avoid taxes via Act 22, a measure passed in 2012 to attract wealthy investors to the island, though no meaningful progress has been reported after its installment.
“I thought it was more third world than I suspected,'' the YouTuber said on his brother’s podcast Impaulsive at the time.