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Proprietor of enterprise featured in Marco Rubio advert beforehand arrested for soliciting prostitute – Florida Politics

The president of an organization featured prominently in an commercial for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s marketing campaign has a legal report.

Silvino Barragan, president of Diego’s Taqueria & Margaritas Bar, pleaded no contest in 2001 to a charge of soliciting or procuring a prostitute. After the Panama Metropolis man’s plea to the misdemeanor cost, adjudication on the case was withheld. Lower than three months after a primary look on June 28, 2001, Barragan paid $297 to the court docket.

Years later, Barragan in 2013 incorporated Diego’s. The enterprise grew an area following inside just a few years, based on the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce. The restaurant now has two areas in Panama Metropolis Seaside.

Because the restaurant enterprise was pilloried by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the corporate was amongst many Florida companies to use for a mortgage by way of the Paycheck Safety Program. A search by way of a ProPublica database of recipients reveals the enterprise acquired $256,080 that was forgiven in 2021.

Of observe, state enterprise data present Barragan additionally opened meals truck Cheo’s Latin Kitchen shortly after the mortgage was pulled.

Rubio performed a key position in crafting the Paycheck Safety Program, and he has touted the federal response as he seeks a 3rd time period within the Senate. He faces a problem this 12 months from U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Congresswoman and the Democratic nominee for Senate.

His marketing campaign dismissed makes an attempt to tar people helped by the Paycheck Safety Program.

“Democrats will do something to distract from Marco Rubio’s report of outcomes since their candidate Val Demings has achieved nothing in Washington,” mentioned Elizabeth Gregory, a spokesperson for the Rubio marketing campaign.

“The roles of the three Florida ladies featured on this advert had been saved as a result of Rubio’s Paycheck Safety Program did simply what it was designed to do: shield their paychecks, and any insinuation that wasn’t a worthy trigger is dishonest and politically motivated.”

Efforts have included spotlighting constructive enterprise tales. The advert, “Diego’s,” was released this month and focuses completely on the restoration for the Panama Metropolis Seaside restaurant.

The Rubio advert notably doesn’t present Barragan. Quite, it options testimonials from waitresses working at Diego’s.

“If it weren’t for Senator Rubio, I won’t also have a job,” says waitress Lauren in a testimonial.

“It was good to know that we had somebody like Senator Rubio searching for us,” says waitress Leah.

The aim of the PPP loans was to forestall layoffs at a time when many companies couldn’t keep open. In Florida, in-person eating was prohibited or extraordinarily restricted for a lot of the 12 months in 2020 after the coronavirus first surfaced within the state due to a safer-at-home order issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A message despatched by way of Fb to Barragan acquired no reply. When a name was positioned to a cellphone quantity listed for Barragan, a person hung up when the caller recognized himself as a Florida Politics reporter.

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