Judicial Watch • Race Defense Fails for “Political Piñata” Senator Sentenced to 5 Years

Race Defense Fails for “Political Piñata” Senator Sentenced to 5 Years

Race Defense Fails for “Political Piñata” Senator Sentenced to 5 Years

JUNE 17, 2013

A corrupt politician who desperately played the race card to fend off criminal charges will serve five years in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars earmarked to fund healthcare for the poor.

The one-time majority leader of the New York State Senate, Democrat Pedro Espada Jr., has been embroiled in a major political scandal for years and finally got convicted last May for stealing wads of cash from the nonprofit healthcare network he founded. A mainstream newspaper story of the 2012 conviction referred to Espada as “one of the most glaring examples of endemic corruption in Albany.”

The Bronx lawmaker illegally funneled money from his network of nonprofit health clinics to a for-profit business that enriched him and financed his political campaign, according to court documents filed by New York’s Attorney General in 2010. State officials provided evidence that Estrada financed his 2008 Senate campaign with siphoned public funds and that he committed fraud and violated state laws regulating elections, nonprofits and labor.

For months Espada dodged subpoenas and records requests, assuring he was innocent and rather the victim of a “witch hunt” driven by political ambitions. In fact, the disgraced lawmaker actually accused the New York Attorney General investigating him of using the state’s highest ranking Hispanic official (at the time Espada) as a personal political piñata.

At his sentencing hearing this month Espada repeated the same old sad story, that he was a victim of persecution, according to a local news report. This time he accused the judge of improperly influencing the jury that convicted him last year. The panel deliberated for two weeks before convicting Espada and was unable to reach verdicts on several other charges, including fraud, theft and conspiracy.   

Espada’s troubles actually go back decades. In the mid 1990s he was punished for election fraud, in 2002 he was caught transferring state money to his clinics, which paid him more than $200,000 a year, and in 2004 several of his employees pleaded guilty to using clinic funds to finance Espada’s political campaign.

In 2011 the dethroned legislator came under fire for creating a special senate job—that paid a handsome $120,000 a year—for one of his sons. The other son made a chunk of change running the family’s taxpayer-funded clinics for the poor. One of the sons also got convicted for his role in pop’s illicit enterprise and is scheduled to be sentenced later this year.

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  • bobystyles

    Part 1) Chancellor Goldstein advised “it is not who you know but WHOM” and he is right. S.I. Attorney Thomas F. Bello is listed in his bio as a “local and political Albany liaison” has people asking me again and again WHOM he knows as to the players NOW in power (we know ties go back) and the recent appointment of this “currently licensed” Attorney within the system as “Law Judge/Director of Education” despite ongoing investigations (dozens upon dozens of complaints) in GRIEVANCE, now in Appellate, Civil and Supreme. This former president of the S.I. trial lawyers association has a track record that goes from good to gone bad, and all public record. The D.O.J. has joined “WE THE PEOPLE” who filed as adversaries in Brooklyn Supreme Court (next is in S.I. Supreme and our politics on the Island) and stopped the lies that did not allow Tom to benefit from his deceit (civil or criminal—you decide.) With the above ongoing, the system rewards Tom with taxpayer funded positions because he knows WHOM—think Lopez/Silver only bigger and far more costly to the taxpayers, as Tom lives high on the hog in a Lighthouse and shows no remorse. Tom also taught “courtroom ethics” on local campuses as Officials both on campus and in judicial knew….I have been asked by Lawyers, Reporters and those in the street along with the many met and interviewed…WHOM does Tom know. If someone knows who the whom is when it comes to Tommy boy—please advise.
    @bobystyles
    718-715-2902