Pedro Espada Jr., the former New York state senate Democratic majority leader, was found guilty of stealing from nonprofit health-care clinics he runs in the Bronx.
A jury in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, convicted Espada today of four counts of theft, while failing to reach a decision on other counts of theft and conspiracy. The jury failed to reach a verdict on any of the charges against his son, Pedro Gautier Espada.
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch accused the Espadas of stealing more than $500,000 from Soundview Healthcare Center, which the elder Espada started in 1978 and which gets more than $1 million a year in federal funding.
Via the New York Times:
A relentless political survivor who fought through years of corruption allegations to briefly hold one of the most powerful political positions in New York State, Mr. Espada joins a long list of state lawmakers, including others from his own hard-luck district, convicted of corruption-related charges in recent years. He and his son are accused of using hundreds of thousands of dollars from Soundview to support their lavish lifestyle.Witness after witness testified about purchases large and small that Mr. Espada made with money from the nonprofit that was supposed to be used for the health needs of one of the poorest parts of the city. Instead, $100,000 in lobster, sushi and other meals was charged to a corporate credit card. Soundview money also went to private family parties, school tuition and luxury car payments.
As is typical of the Democrat party, Espada himself started playing the victim card, instead of taking responsibility for his actions. The Times continues (emphasis mine)…
A self-styled man of the people, Mr. Espada, who was born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, relied on the same defense in his trial that he so often turned to during his three decades in public life — maintaining that the allegations against him were the work of political enemies.
Toward the end of the trial, in an indication that he was preparing to argue the same thing about his anticipated conviction, he stopped paying attention to proceedings, instead paging through a book that argues that black people cannot find justice in the American legal system.
Espada may not have felt he could find justice, but the poor families who needed his network’s healthcare services have finally found it.