Paperwork delays opening of Puerto Rican Day fest

June 15, 2012 3:02:49 PM PDT
Chicago's Puerto Rican Day Festival is open for the weekend after a paperwork issue delayed opening day, Thursday. The Chicago Park District closed the festival on Thursday for two hours because, the district says, the Puerto Rican Parade Committee didn't file the required paperwork. The committee disagrees, saying the paperwork was all there -- and that the delay cost them at least $200,000.

"Unfortunately because of the time we were closed the festival did lose a great deal of revenue -- $100,000 an hour," Cesar Rolon, committee spokesperson, said. "But they are resolving the issue."

The Chicago Park District issued a statement from Juaniza Marta, which read, in part, "The organizers did not have the proper documents to receive a permit and the police were notified of this. Once the requirements were in place, the festival doors were opened at 8:30 p.m."

Fiestas Puertorriquenas was scheduled to being at 4 p.m. The gates opened around 8 p.m.

Officials with the festival, now in its 30th year, said they did file the proper documents.

"We had the green light to open and two hours later they shut us down, told us we didn't have correct insurance. Why did they wait so long? We would of supplied what they needed," Jose Betacourt, Puerto Rican Parade Committee, said.

On Monday the committee will meet with Chicago police officials and Chicago Police Commander Linda Flores, who was in charge of delaying the festival. On Friday, parade committee members had a heated meeting behind closed doors with a park district official.

"The park district is satisfied with the paper work. We are ready to roll gates open at four," Amy Vega, Puerto Rican Parade Committee, said.

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