The former secretary of the Citizen Organization Fran Hervías offered municipal groups and officials from his party the consulting services of a private communication company of which he is a shareholder while he was a senator. Hervías sent several of his contacts the services and rates of the consultancy with which he had partnered, according to what he himself specified in the messages to which elDiario.es has had access. The one who was Albert Rivera’s right-hand man in the party, attracted clients among the municipal groups of Citizens to encourage them to hire his company to advise them on communication and public speaking. As published by El Español, some of those courses amounted to 2,000 euros.
The environment of Hervías offers militants of Citizens in Murcia positions in the ministries ceded by the PP to the defected deputies
The company, La Fábrica de Discursos, is a company founded by another Citizen politician, Fran Carrillo, and according to Hervías’ sales strategy, it was going to help political groups in town halls and councils to place messages in the media and favor your image.
Hervías practically acted as a commercial for that company when he still held the act of senator, which he left just a few days ago after announcing his jump to the PP. This commercial task was carried out without informing the Senate or asking for compatibility: the upper house regulation limits to the extreme the activities for which its members can receive extra remuneration. Working for a private communication consultancy of which you are a shareholder, and that sells services to municipal groups, is not among the exceptions that are usually approved.
The former senator did inform the Senate that he owned 20% of the company’s shares worth 30,000 euros. This is stated in the Official Gazette of the Senate that published his declaration of assets on June 26, 2020. Those actions were not reflected in the declaration of assets that he delivered in Congress when he was elected deputy after the April 2019 elections.
Hervías has had the option of informing the Senate of this second activity that he was developing. On February 4, 2021, a declaration of economic interests was registered in the upper house to which elDiario.es has had access. It only reflects his positions in Ciudadanos but does not make any mention of the company.
This medium has repeatedly tried to contact Hervías over the last two days to find out his version, but it has not responded to calls or messages.
“I think you could use it very well”
In the message that Hervías distributed so that his contacts could contract with the company, he himself announced that he had “associated” with La Fábrica de Discursos: “We have launched a communication and training consultancy to help municipal groups.” “I think it would be very good for you in your Municipal Group and the Provincial Council to give you more visibility and know how to put headlines in the media based on your interventions in plenary sessions,” he added.
Hervías then reported on the rates, warned his contacts that it could “come in handy” and clarified that it was “very good advice.” The farewell included a postscript in which he offered his help in the upper house: “This is already political. If you need something from the Senate, count on it too.” The messages are a template from which Hervías only changed the recipient.
Some of the municipal groups of Citizens have hired La Fábrica de Discursos, the Hervías company. According to the invoices to which elDiario.es has had access, they paid 290 euros for training in political speeches, one of the services offered by this consultancy.
A consulting firm linked to Ciudadanos
The company to which Hervías has joined and from which it sells its services is linked to Ciudadanos. The Discourse Factory was founded in 2010 by Fran Carrillo, former senator and deputy for Citizens in the Andalusian Parliament. This expert in public speaking who gives advice to his colleagues on how to articulate his speeches, as they admit, came out of anonymity when he promulgated on the networks that “the majority of Nazi hierarchs were homosexuals”, after the incidents at the LGTBI Pride demonstration in Madrid.
According to company data, Carrillo ceased to be sole administrator in 2019. In the declaration of assets that he presented in the Andalusian Parliament in December 2018, it is stated that he is the majority shareholder, with 51% of the titles, worth 32,837 ,30 euros. In the company records, there also appears a councilor for Citizens in Madrid, Ángel Niño Quesada, who was in the consultancy between 2015 and 2019.
Carrillo confirms to elDiario.es that he left the company when he began his political career, that he is no longer the majority shareholder and that he has not heard from the consultancy since then.
According to the company’s website, Carlos Alonso, an expert in rhetoric and public speaking, is now headed. The team that appears on the web also includes Juan Carlos Girauta, former Citizen Deputy, Oriol Burgués, Hervías collaborator in the Citizen Organization Secretariat, former Secretary of the Citizen Organization in La Rioja, Albert Castillón, one of the journalists who read Colón’s manifesto the first time that Ciudadanos appeared in public with Vox, or Damián Macías, Citizen councilor in the Madrid municipality of Pozuelo de Alarcón.
Carlos Alonso assures, in conversation with elDiario.es, that Hervías does not work “actively or passively” in the company, but that he is unaware of the activities of the partners. He insists that all members of Active Citizens who work for that company do not receive any salary.
Hervías left the Senate on March 15, to jump to the PP, the last step of a slow withdrawal of Citizens that began on November 26, 2019. That day, shortly after the electoral bump and the resignation of Albert Rivera, he left the Secretary of Organization. He remained linked to the party during 2020, although in the background, as a senator, from where he entered private activity without releasing the seat and taking advantage of the contacts of his experience at the head of the Organization.
His colleagues in Ciudadanos believe that he has also spent this time set aside in the upper house to maneuver against the party. The current leadership places him behind the failure of the motion of censure in Murcia and they believe that he is helping the PP to capture positions of Citizens. Some of his collaborators have offered to militants of Ciudadanos in Murcia positions in the ministries assigned by the PP to the defected deputies.