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For most of its 25 years, the Latino-American Festival has been dogged by allegations of corruption. Now the courts will decide if those allegations are true. On Sept. 9 at La Perla restaurant, the board of trustees, led by Chairman Jesús Sánchez Cañete, suspended the fest’s board of directors including President Eduardo Peña and Vice-President Eduardo Perdomo. Peña was not present, but Perdomo was forcibly removed by off-duty D.C. cops there to ensure that the coup remained bloodless. On Sept. 19, the trustees filed a civil suit against Peña, Perdomo, kiosk contractor Clara Garcia, and other festival officers and contractors. The suit alleges that the defendants engaged in “financial irregularities” and signed contracts and checks for their own benefit, and asks the courts to force the defendants to turn over the festival’s financial records. The trustees asked Peña to turn over the records in April, but he declined, writing that he didn’t “have the time or inclination to comply.” According to Cañete, the trustees are particularly concerned about almost $30,000 in contracts given to Garcia, who has close ties to Perdomo. Cañete plans to ask the bar to investigate whether Peña acted improperly by serving as both president and counsel for the festival, and to ask the U.S. Attorney to investigate whether the defendants in the civil case committed criminal fraud. “For many years, there have been rumors of hanky-panky going on in the festival,” says Cañete. “Now I think we have the opportunity to prove it.”