After more than a year of hiding in plain sight on the streets of Granada, Cuban-American Ana Alliegro, a self-described Republican strategist wanted in a federal elections investigation of former U.S. Representative David Rivera, was nabbed Friday morning by Nicaraguan Police and whisked to the Managua airport for expulsion from the country.
Alliegro, who had a wild reputation in Granada, where she helped manage the Euro Salon & Spa on Calle Real Xalteva, is wanted for her alleged connection to the 2012 congressional campaign of Justin Lamar Sternad, a straw man candidate who received illegal campaign funds to undercut the incumbent Rivera’s real opponent in the race, Democrat Joe Garcia. Garcia eventually beat Sternard in the primary and then went on to unseat the incumbent Rivera in the general election for the 26th district of Florida.
After Sternard pleaded guilty on charges of accepting more than $81,000 in illegal campaign contributions, the FBI sought Alliegro for questioning for her alleged role in handling the money. Presumably Alliegro, 44, could connect the money trail back to Rivera, if such a connection exists.
Alliegro and Rivera both deny any wrongdoing in the scandal. Video footage by Accion 10 TV showed Alliegro covering her face and refusing to comment today while Nicaraguan Police led her through the airport.
The Nicaragua Dispatch tried repeatedly to reach Nicaraguan Police spokespeople Fernando Borge and Glenda Zavala, but the former wouldn’t answer his phone and the later hung-up when asked for comment. The U.S. Embassy also declined to comment on the case. “For privacy reasons, we will not comment at this time,” an embassy spokesman said.
A loud life in Granada
In the quiet town of Granada, Alliegro quickly developed a reputation as a loose cannon. She left her first rental apartment on Calle Libertad after reportedly engaging in several verbal altercations with her neighbors, teenagers who run a bracelet cooperative. Neighbors claim Alliegro had a quick temper, a foul mouth, and penchant for pornographic movies, which she reportedly watched at full volume late into the night.
She then reportedly terrorized a local ex-boyfriend by breaking his windshield and trying to torch his car after he broke up with her, according to the ex-boyfriend, who wished to remain unidentified.
But once Alliegro opened the beauty salon on Calle Xalteva in May 2013, she reportedly settled into a more domesticated lifestyle.
Alliegro insisted she was never hiding in Granada; and she certainly never seemed concerned about maintaining a low profile. So it’s unclear why Alliegro was suddenly arrested today after a year of plying the streets of Granada — and those in a position to answer that question aren’t talking.