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Mayor, City Council speaker slam hedge funds over Puerto Rico’s debt crisis

Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City’s second-most-powerful elected official, called them vultures.

Hedge funds that hold billions of dollars of Puerto Rico’s high-yield debt “are feeding off the misery of the island,” Ms. Mark-Viverito, speaker of the City Council, told a cheering crowd last week at a City Hall rally. She accused the funds of trying to gut wages, education and health care for the island’s 3.5 million residents.

What she and other critics who spoke that day didn’t say was that New York taxpayers and retirees entrust some of those hedge funds with more than $2.2 billion of the city’s $166 billion in pension assets.

The July 28 rally, organized by the city’s Hispanic Federation, attracted Latino activists who heard Ms. Mark-Viverito, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer each acknowledge the special relationship between the island and New York, where more than 700,000 Puerto Ricans reside, almost twice as many as in San Juan.

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