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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Corruption Beat Goes On In New York

The corruption beat goes on
A Journal News EDITORIAL - December 16, 2010

New York is truly a special place, so special that the Senate majority leader gets indicted on a cornucopia of corruption charges, for alleged figurative and literal gluttony, and it engenders little more than raised eyebrows from the masses. Perhaps more interesting than the long-expected charges against Sen. Pedro Espada was this from Attorney General and Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo, in announcing the charges : "The days where state officials can abuse the taxpayers are over." Is there anyone in New York who really believes that? In a surprise to absolutely no one, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn and Cuomo on Tuesday indicted Espada, who lives in Mamaroneck while representing the Bronx, and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, on a total of six corruption charges, all stemming from their dealings with the Comprehensive Community Development Corp., the taxpayer supported health-care provider known as Soundview Healthcare Center. They allegedly embezzled more than $500,000 from Bronx-based Soundview, which was founded by Pedro Espada in 1978. They are alleged to have relied upon an array of mundane and spectacular deceits, over many years of wrongful conduct.

Charges Were Expected

The indictment alleges that Espada, defeated this year in his re-election bid, and his family charged some $100,000 to Soundview's corporate credit card, for pricey meals throughout Westchester — $20,000 alone for sushi bought from a Mamaroneck restaurant. Espada's son is accused of rigging a Soundview contract for janitorial services, so that the Espada family's janitorial company would win the contract and at an inflated price. Espada allegedly used Soundview funds to pay campaign expenses, such as for mailings, and for a petting zoo outing and pony rides. The senator allegedly attempted to use a $49,000 check from the Development Corp. for the purchase of a new Bentley. Only a bad credit review cost Espada that luxury. Many of the allegations are not new to voters; some surfaced in a civil lawsuit that Cuomo filed in the spring alleging that the senator had siphoned off more than $14 million from Soundview, the bulk of it coming in a promise to pay Espada a $9 million severance package. But the charges also come directly on the heels of now-ex-Sen. Vincent Leibell's pleading guilty to corruption charges. Before Leibell, there was former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens, who was indicted in October on federal corruption charges.

Bentley-Grade Impunity

Before Monserrate, there was former Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, D-Bronx, who pleaded guilty last year to charges he looted nonprofit organizations. Before Gonzalez, there was former GOP Senate leader Joe Bruno, of Rensselaer County, who was also convicted of corruption. A host of other sitting legislators, including Sen. President Malcolm Smith, D-Queens, face corruption inquiries related to their dealings with nonprofits. Small wonder the voters barely register any surprise over Espada's escapades; they are likelier to wonder who will be next. Despite the seemingly endless indictments, Albany has yet to agree on any ethics law with any teeth in them; campaign finance reform remains a nice idea; only the barest constraints even endeavor to keep lawmakers' hands out of the coffers of taxpayer-supported nonprofit groups; and nearly everybody elected to the Legislature gets re-elected (because of political advantage and mostly woeful challengers). Gov.-elect Cuomo, preening after the Espada indictment, said the days are "over" where state officials "can abuse" the taxpayers. We sure wish someone would tell that to the legislators; it still feels like they are running up the score — with Bentley-grade impunity.


westchester organized crime victim said...

Finally, the Westchester Journal News is talking about the state of corruption. For years, the Journal News was mum on the subject because mobsters control that paper, the Westchester FBI and the entire judicial system from the 9th judicial district.

A Pox On Them All said...

Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo, in announcing the charges: "The days where state officials can abuse the taxpayers are over." Liar, liar, pants on fire.
Earlier, in November Cuomo said, "[I'm]hesitant to empower Eric Schneiderman to investigate public corruption at the attorney general’s office."
Liar,liar, pants on fire.

Anonymous said...

This would be just a guess, but did the Westchester Journal News finally even give a footnote mention to the biggest criminal of them all, Tony Scarpino?

They will continue to tip toe around the real crooks and think that no one will notice.

What they don't realize that a system that is corrupt and fixed doesn't just victimize someone else. It can and will victimize everyone.

Those criminals in charge look out for themselves. That only works as long as they are in charge. There is always someone new looking to move in on the action.

It's important to keep posting information and names anywhere and everywhere on the internet so they cannot hide. Every time someone looks them up, they should only see they damage they have done and the crimes they have committed.

Let's make the new year more uncomfortable for them.

Anonymous said...

Why are they picking on all the brothers? Why is the man going after those of color? Cuomo got a free pass. Who's his godfather?

Anonymous said...

these non profits are all crooked...stealing money..a normal everyday thing

just look at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society a known child molester runs it

Anonymous said...

that is why innocents are being harmed and their rights violated, they are always after someone else!

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