Johnny Williams behaved by the Puerto Rican countryside as a rich however down-to-earth “gringo” with a beneficiant coronary heart. As Christmas approached, he would set up toy drives for neighborhood youngsters, incomes him the respect of everybody in his neighborhood of the city of Canóvanas.
Those that obtained to know Williams observed his aversion to being photographed regardless of his distinctive vibrant smile, however nobody gave it a lot thought.
His charisma gained him entry to high-level social circles, as did his declare that he was the co-founder of a corporation referred to as Karma Honey Undertaking, a non-profit group that promoted the safety of bees on the island.
He even cast political ties, resulting in an look at La Fortaleza, the governor’s official residence, to maneuver a pesky beehive.
Now it appears his “shyness” was hiding a darkish secret.
He was arrested by the US Marshal’s Service on February 25 and is being held for homicide.
In line with authorities, “Johnny Williams” was the pseudonym utilized by Conor Vincent D’Monte, who was one of many Canada’s Most Wanted Fugitives. The 44-year-old is the suspected perpetrator of a bloody taking pictures, concentrating on rival gangs, outdoors a Vancouver mall in 2009.
The Marshal’s Service acted after an intensive investigation raised suspicions in regards to the true id of ‘Johnny Williams’. Regardless of having a 9mm by his aspect, D’Monte could not resist. The arrest got here only a week after his visit to the governor’s residence.
“He acted shocked,” mentioned Antonio Torres, deputy chief U.S. marshal in Puerto Rico. the AP.
D’Monte was the alleged chief of one in all British Columbia’s most feared gangs, referred to as the “United Nations”. Additionally it is often known as the “World United Nations Syndicate” (GUNS), named after the various ethnic backgrounds of its members.
For greater than a decade, he evaded detection by the Canadian justice system, which is now searching for his extradition from Puerto Rico on prices that additionally embody tried homicide, in accordance with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It isn’t identified how lengthy he remained in Puerto Rico.
Those that knew D’Monte as a philanthropist have been dumbfounded.
Lawyer Yaliz Baéz, a pal of ‘Williams’ who says she has collaborated with the Karma Honey Undertaking on a number of events, advised el Nuevo Herald that working in Puerto Rico could have been ‘his method of justifying himself with life “.
Whereas D’Monte appeared to pose as somebody who may make offers on behalf of Karma Honey Undertaking, Candice Galek, president of the group, claimed he was only a volunteer.
The episode introduced undesirable consideration to the nonprofit group.
So who was Williams/D’Monte and what precisely was his connection to Karma Honey Undertaking?
The solutions may have an effect on whether or not the group retains its nonprofit privileges on the island, Puerto Rico Division of Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea mentioned. Telemundo PR.
Karma and bees
Puerto Rico’s bee inhabitants was devastated by Hurricane Maria. To the rescue got here the Karma Honey Undertaking.
Karma Honey, whose motto is “Save a bee, save the world”, was created in 2019 by Galek, a Miami businesswoman who in 2017 was featured on a Forbes listing of 30 below 30. She launched a web based bikini retailer referred to as Bikini Luxe. On his LinkedIn web page, Galek cites numerous axioms, similar to: “Should you have been born poor, it isn’t your mistake, however when you die poor, it is your mistake.”
Galek, who didn’t reply to el Nuevo Herald’s requests for remark, determined to launch the trouble to assist the island’s bees regardless of not dwelling there.
After the arrest, Galek sought to disassociate his group from D’Monte, claiming he was dropped in December 2021, two months earlier than marshals caught him.
“We discovered that he was assembly folks and networking in a method that was inconsistent with the group,” Galek mentioned in an interview with the outlet. In white and black with Sandra. She defined that D’Monte’s actions “appeared extra egocentric than good for the neighborhood.”
Galek’s model of occasions doesn’t match what D’Monte handed on to el Nuevo Herald by Yaliz Baéz, the lawyer pal. She mentioned D’Monte served because the group’s spokesperson till earlier this 12 months. The Karma Honey Undertaking web site incorporates a tv report through which Galek and “Williams” are credited with developing with the thought for Karma Honey Undertaking.
The evening earlier than D’Monte Stopa brand new group was registered in Puerto Rico below the title of Project Karma PR Inc.. The corporate was registered by a person named Karlos M. Villafane-Santiago, but it surely lists the identical bodily tackle in Puerto Rico as by Galek group. Efforts by El Nuevo Herald to contact him to request timing and comparable nomenclature have been unsuccessful.
In the identical month that Galek says he fired D’Monte, Miami’s spouse filed a request to include one more entity with the identical title, Karma Honey Inc., Florida, as a for-profit firm
Donations from Act 22 beneficiaries
Puerto Rico has a provision referred to as the Act to Promote the Relocation of Buyers to Puerto Rico, which does because the title suggests. Adopted in 2012, the supply, additionally referred to as Act 22, offers full native revenue tax exemption to new residents who haven’t lived in Puerto Rico throughout the earlier six years. The principles have been just lately revised, however the purpose stays the identical: to draw high-income folks, together with retirees and empty dad and mom, from outdoors Puerto Rico.
Karma Honey Undertaking inspired folks on its web site to benefit from Regulation 22 and donate, both in lump sums or month-to-month installments of $500.
The Deserted Faculty Ghost Undertaking
One wonders if the attain of Karma Honey Undertaking may have been exaggerated. In a November 2021 replace, the Karma Honey web site says the group was making a “main effort” to lift funds to fund a brand new venture – restoration of an deserted faculty within the municipality of Canóvanas, the place a bee conservation schooling heart was being thought of. .
The plan included an natural meals retailer, neighborhood gardens, and lecture rooms with classes in agriculture, finance, and cryptocurrency. It has been described because the group’s most bold enterprise.
“We’re on the lookout for donors, volunteers and companies to assist us with this thrilling venture,” the web site reads, explaining that Karma Honey Undertaking would work hand-in-hand with college students from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in addition to ‘with Id Shaliah. , a faith-based group, to convey transformation to life.
College students from Worcester Polytechnic have been all current. A gaggle of them submitted an motion plan to the varsity figuring out Id Shaliah and Karma Honey as homeowners of the constructing.
Besides they weren’t the homeowners, regardless of a tweet earlier that 12 months from Canóvanas Mayor Lornna Soto asserting the “switch” of the Guide Agosto Lebrón faculty to Id Shaliah and Karma Honey. Undertaking “to finish a number of necessary tasks.”
After D’Monte’s arrest, Soto flip-flopped, saying the varsity constructing was not owned by Karma Honey Undertaking, both by possession or lease.
“The proposal didn’t meet the necessities of the municipality. Subsequently, the contract was not awarded,” Soto advised the Metro newspaper.
Javier Valedón, president of the Id Shaliah, insisted on In white and black with Sandra that D’Monte advised him “issues that did not make sense”.
There have been “many harmless victims of Johnny Williams,” Valedón mentioned, in accordance with the web site. Valedón couldn’t be reached by el Nuevo Herald.
Is it on the market?
Carlos Chaparro, proprietor of Apiary of TaínaSoy and a beekeeper with greater than six years of expertise, mentioned D’Monte got here to him, displaying up with an unannounced realtor to attempt to get him to promote his property, which was not on the market.
It was three years in the past. “He advised me that he possesses Karma Honey Undertaking and that he needed to purchase my apiary to make an area for his group,” Chaparro, who grew up in Chicago, advised el Nuevo Herald.
The land in query has belonged to his household for generations. Moreover, it was utilized by tons of of native and worldwide volunteers to create a Earthship, a sturdy, hurricane-resistant heart.
“I went by gentrification in Chicago and now that I come right here to deal with my dad and mom, I see the identical factor,” Chaparro mentioned.
Following D’Monte’s high-profile arrest, Chaparro now believes the person “supplied cash he could not even have had”.
Solely D’Monte is aware of for certain. And he stays cloistered behind bars, awaiting extradition to the Metropolitan Detention Middle, a federal jail in Guaynabo.
D’Monte needed to promote his property to pay for the authorized staff that can symbolize him in Canada, Yaliz Báez mentioned.