April 20, 2010; Talking Points Memo | Here’s another in our growing collection of “will this ever stop?” series of articles. On Tuesday, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo brought a suit against state Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada that charges the lawmaker with diverting money from his heath care nonprofit to benefit his campaign and family, and to pay personal expenses.
The suit against Espada, a Democrat, alleges that he and his family stole $14 million over five years. According to Talking Points Memo, the suit claims that Espada used Soundview, the nonprofit clinic he founded, to pay for $80,000 in restaurant bills and $450,000 worth of credit card charges. TPM reports that the suit claims that Soundview also gave Espada a contract for a $9 million severance package and $75,000 in credit for unused leave time, of which he had 14 weeks every year. The suit alleges that another entity Espand founded won Soundview contracts worth $400,000, of which $150,000 went to his son.
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The state seeks restitution and to have Espada and family members and Senate employees removed from Soundview’s board. Obviously we can’t predict the outcome of this case, but two things are certain: Cuomo, a leading candidate for New York Governor, will be keeping it in the spotlight and win or lose, this won’t be the last time you read stories like this here. A late update added last evening published Espada’s response. He’s blaming the suit on “political payback.”—Bruce Trachtenberg