Justin Lamar Sternad, whose failed congressional campaign became the subject of a federal grand-jury investigation, has told the FBI that U.S. Rep. David Rivera was secretly behind his run for office, The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald have learned. Sternad, 35, also told authorities that his campaign manager, Ana Sol Alliegro, acted as the conduit between the campaign and Rivera, who allegedly steered unreported cash to the Democrat’s campaign, according to sources familiar with the investigation and records shared with The Herald. Sternad said Alliegro referred to the congressman by his initials, “D.R.,” and called him by the nickname, “The Gangster.”
“We will respond when these so-called ‘sources’ are willing to go on the record,” said attorney Michael R. Band, who represents Rivera. “We are not going to respond to unfounded rumors and innuendo. My client is in the middle of an election and it’s unfair for us to be shadow-boxing with unnamed sources.”
Sternad’s account to federal authorities supports what two campaign vendors told The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald: that the congressman was the driver behind a botched attempt to plant a candidate in the District 26 congressional primary. Sternad has acknowledged to the feds that he never met Rivera, the sources said, a point that the Republican congressman has long claimed.