Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Cuba trip

In 2001, grand jurors say, Fumo took a free trip to Cuba.

Citizens' Alliance paid for it - one of $39,000 worth of trips for the senator and others over two years.

Prosecutors say those expenses had no connection to Citizens Alliance's self-proclaimed mission:

"To promote public health, housing, safety and education in the city and county of Philadelphia."

The trips were organized by the Alliance for Responsible Cuba Policy, a group that wants to end the U.S. trade embargo of the communist nation.

Fumo went on the first trip, from Nov. 17 to 20, 2001, with Mitchell Rubin of Philadelphia, his close friend and Ruth Arnao's future husband. Before the men left, a subsidiary of Citizens' Alliance, CA Holdings, paid the Cuba organization $12,000.

When he returned, Fumo told Arnao to send the group $10,000 in Citizens' Alliance funds.

That payment cleared the way for two more of Fumo's friends, an Atlantic City lawyer and a Ventnor, N.J., contractor, to make the journey in February 2002.

Later, Citizens' Alliance paid the Cuba group $7,000 more, allowing two other Fumo friends - one of them South Philadelphia florist Jerry Catania - to travel to the island in September 2002.

Friends of Fumo's, such as Catania, were never told that Citizens' Alliance had paid for their trip. None was asked to report to the charity about experiences in Cuba.

 

 

Inquirer Staff
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