Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Meet The "Reformational" Pedro Espada Jr.

We've already heard Senator Golden's wonderful statements about Hiram Monserrate, so what do we know about the other soulless turncoat, Pedro Espada? Well, some of the press has already gotten started digging. A few of the items are old news, you know, typical "reform-minded" elected official stuff like not living in the district you represent and not bothering to follow the meager campaign finance laws that New York has on its books.

Then there is the new stuff, the reason (or part there of) why we are in this mess:

ALBANY — State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. requested more than $2 million dollars in Senate earmarks this year for two groups with links to the health care organization that he founded and which appeared to have been created in part to receive such grants, according to several Democratic officials and aides with knowledge of the requests.

But Senate Democrats rejected the grant requests in early April because they could not confirm that the groups were legitimate nonprofit organizations. Around the same time, Mr. Espada began discussions with Senate Republicans to leave the Democratic caucus, ending with the Republicans’ surprise takeover of the Senate on Monday.

At the end of March, Mr. Espada requested $1,348,000 in grants for the Bronx Human Services Council Inc., an organization that registered with the state as a nonprofit organization on March 26, roughly a week before the state budget deal under which the Senate and Assembly were allocated about $170 million in pork-barrel spending, known as member items.

State records indicate that the council is headquartered at the same Bronx address as a clinic that is part of the Soundview HealthCare Network, which Mr. Espada founded. The chairman of the board of Soundview, John A. Feliciano, Jr., is also listed as a special assistant on Mr. Espada’s Senate staff, according to Senate records.

Mr. Espada also requested $875,000 for Green ECO Energy Incorporated, a group that was created on March 19. State records list the contact for the organization as Daniel Pagano, a lawyer who works part-time for Mr. Espada as counsel to the Senate Housing Committee and who is also representing the senator in his ongoing dispute with the state Board of Elections over missing campaign filings.

So "Mr. Reform" didn't get his $2.2+ million in dirty money from the Democrats, so he decided to cast his lot with the Republicans. Espada is so corrupt and so arrogant, he barely even tries to hide the money he is extorting from New York's taxpayers.

Now he's claiming he wants reform in his "coalition government," but really, all he cares about is obtaining more power and enriching himself. He may have a new fancy title in the Senate for the time being, but before long, as fellow Senator Diane Savino told him, "Life is circular, my friend." Circular for Espada means that voters in the Bronx will kick him to the curb next year, where he belongs.