April 20th, 2010
Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada held a press conference this evening in response to the civil suit brought by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Espada didn’t exactly refute or directly address any of the myriad charges leveled by Cuomo’s office. Instead Espada went on the attack. The Bronx legislator claimed that Cuomo is looking for political retribution for Espada’s role in last year’s Senate coup. He alleged that Cuomo encouraged the coup so that it would undermine Gov. David Paterson.
Espada insisted he will not step down as majority leader. Espada was in typical defiant form and avoided any substantive issues. He only took 3 questions from the press.
Here is his statement:
“Good day to all.
After months and months of rampant speculation, innuendo and political grandstanding….targeted leaks to the press meant to disparage me and poison the public’s perception of the Soundview Healthcare Network…and an extraordinary expenditure of taxpayer dollars, resources and time, I am here today to address the litany of mischaracterizations and falsehoods that serve as the foundation for the AG’s action against the Soundview Healthcare Network.
It is clear to many that the motivation behind all of this is simple political payback for what the establishment likes to call the Senate coup, but what I call the start of real reform in the New York State Senate. There is an unfortunate pattern developing, a pattern where the AG garners tons of media attention for a supposed serious investigation, only to bring a case that is no where near commensurate to the resources devoted to it, nor the media attention he has brought to it on his ubiquitous off the record conference calls.
These actions are politics as usual, a steamroller approach to using the power of one’s office, an office I remind you whose purpose is to protect the people, not to make unfounded assertions and accusations as a means to achieve political power. We have seen this movie from that office before, and we all know how it ends.
Civil cases are brought when a tenant has a dispute with their landlord, or when spouses are divorcing. Further, I find it disingenuous to demonize my family simply for working for a business I founded. It is no more inappropriate than working for your dad if he happens to be governor of this great state.
There should be no rush to judgment until the facts emerge. I would like to remind everyone, including my fellow elected officials, that just like you I deserve and look forward to the opportunity to address this complaint in the proper forum.
I am deeply disappointed that the Soundview Healthcare Network has been drawn into a politically driven civil complaint. The Soundview Healthcare Network is being portrayed as a façade in a Hollywood backlot. The reality is, 100,000-plus patient visits come through the doors of our four facilities every year. Because Soundview is federally funded, we are turned upside down several times over – audited by and meeting regulations set by federal, state and local agencies, as well as the dozens of health care providers, insurance companies and vendors that we have relationships with. This game of politics is sabotaging thousands of Bronx Hispanics and African Americans who rely on Soundview Healthcare Network’s vital health care, social services and outreach programs and the specialty care that they receive in pediatric, geriatric, cardiology, nutrition, diabetes and so many other areas.
In conclusion, I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Majority Conference, as I have been for the past several months, to deliver a state budget that does not reduce funding for our classrooms, affordable housing, health care and transportation. My focus will continue to be on passing my rent relief legislation that would freeze rents for the next five years for more than 600,000 tenants, and legislation that would provide greater protections for farm workers and domestic workers. I will be responding to this complaint in the near future and I will continue to work as Majority leader doing the work the people of the 33rd district elected me to do.”By David King on April 20, 2010, 7:13 pm
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