AG serving up investigation into Coors Light Puerto Rican Day Parade controversy

Posted at 7:11 PM, May 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-31 19:11:59-04

NEW YORK (PIX11) — A new day at the offices of the National Puerto Rican Day parade in the Bronx presents only questions to be answered.

When PIX11 News walked in, searching for parade chair Madelyn Lugo an office worker said, “You just missed her.”

We were looking for the same woman that the Attorney General of the State of New York, Eric Schneiderman, and its Charities Bureau Chief, Jason Lilien, are looking for after he fired off a letter to Lugo asking for “financial reports” as well as “copies of your organizations” agreements in relation to Miller-Coors.

PIX11 News finally caught up with Lugo Friday afternoon in Chelsea where she responded to the request with a simple, “we will provide the records.”

The letter dated May 29th stems from the  controversial beer cans featuring the Puerto Rican flag as well as the parade logo reflective of Puerto Rican colors.  The ad campaign, which was endorsed by parade officials, resulted in Miller-Coors no longer producing or distributing the commemorative 24-ounce cans.

The group “Boricuas For a Positive Image” held a rally at a Bronx distributor criticizing parade officials and Coors on Thursday after Miller-Coors announced the move.  The organization was upset at the original marketing campaign as well as the brewing giant not making recommendations to stores and markets to pull cans from their shelves.

Lugo did not answer any of the questions posed by PIX11 on Wednesday, but was more forthcoming on Friday.

“We are a non-for-profit organization and I believe that the Attorney General offices as a not-for-profit organization has the right to look into our record and make sure that we are running the organization according to the titles of the law.”

When asked if she was concerned, Lugo said, “I am not concerned.”

City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito has been on the front lines criticizing Miller-Coors and the parade over the last 48-hours. The councilwoman supports the Attorney General’s office getting to the bottom of any not-for-profit where there appears to be questionable relationships.  “Deplorable,” was her initial reaction to the controversial cans.

Additionally, Miller-Coors was sent a letter by the offices of the Attorney General.  A Miller-Coors spokeswoman said via email that the company does not comment on legal investigations and will comply fully.

As for those controversial cans? PIX 11 found them on a few shelves in the Bronx on Friday.  However, the four Coors Light trucks that were observed had replacement cans.

Miller-Coors apologized on Thursday and promised that no more cans would be delivered.

“No flag,” said one delivery driver.