Espada Found Guilty of Theft
May 14th, 2012
Former state Sen. Pedro Espada has been found guilty of embezzling from his Bronx health care network.
After finding Espada guilty of theft, the jury continued to deliberate other charges, including conspiracy and fraud. Espada’s son, who also worked at the Soundview network, is also on trial.
The senior Espada, who had long cast himself as an underdog fighter, had blamed his political foes for stirring up the allegations against him.
Common Cause is using today’s verdict to call for more aggressive ethics investigations from the state-level Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause/NY, said in a statement that Espada is “the poster child for corruption and the wholesale flaunting of our campaign finance and ethics laws.”
Espada was at the center of the 2009 state Senate coup that left the body paralyzed for a month. He was eventually named senate majority leader as part of a deal that allowed him to return to the Democrats.
A good number of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle refused to even speak to Espada while he carried the title. Before the coup, Espada had wracked up thousands of dollars in unpaid fines from the state and city board of elections. He also faced accusations he didn’t even live in his district.
In early 2009, just before the coup, Espada granted the Gazette a rare interview and took us on a tour of his alleged Bronx residence and one of the health clinics. At the time, Espada mocked and challenged then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to come after him.
Espada lost his seat in a primary election to Gustavo Rivera in 2010.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issues this statement on the conviction:
“As Attorney General, I brought an action against Pedro Espada for siphoning millions of dollars from a taxpayer funded not-for-profit and using the money to support a lavish lifestyle for himself, his family, and his friends, as well as for supporting his political operation. Mr. Espada was the prime example of government corruption.
“I worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York to initiate a criminal case, delegating my Deputy Chief of Staff, Mitra Hormozi, to become a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney in order to facilitate the criminal action. These efforts between state and federal investigators culminated in today’s jury verdict, convicting Mr. Espada of multiple felonies.
“I commend the diligent work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in seeing that justice was done in this matter.
“Those who would abuse the public trust have a pointed lesson in the downfall of former Senator Espada. My comments at the time I filed the original charges bear repeating: in New York, we will have no tolerance for government corruption. As Attorney General and as Governor, I have fought to bring performance, integrity and pride back to what was, at one time, the best state government in the nation. We are making progress.
“Mr. Espada has made many accusations and comments about me since my actions began. Today the jury spoke loud and clear making Mr. Espada a convicted felon.
“The State Department of Health will continue to work with other area health care providers in the Bronx as well as the insurance plans that cover Soundview patients to ensure that those individuals will have ready access to quality health care.”By David King on May 14, 2012, 5:03 pm
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