Pedro Espada and Son Respond to Attorney General’s Latest Lawsuit

Sen. Pedro Espada gives a thumbs up while posing next to his son Pedro G. Espada. (Photo:

Sen. Pedro Espada gives a thumbs up while posing next to his son, Pedro G. Espada. (Photo:

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed another lawsuit against state Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada, charging them with “creating a sham job training program that cheated workers and shortchanged state coffers.” This lawsuit is the second filed against the elder Espada by the attorney general in just over a week. On April 20, Cuomo charged Espada with using a Bronx-based non-profit health care company as his own “personal piggybank.” Espada responded to Cuomo’s latest attack against him by challenging the attorney general to a debate.

Cuomo’s suit accuses the Espadas of using a for-profit management company to “siphon” taxpayer money from the Soundview health clinic. Soundview awarded Espada Management Co., which is run by Pedro G. Espada, a nearly $400,000 annual contract to do janitorial work. According to Cuomo, workers from Espada Management Co. were “mischaracterized … as trainees” and “paid a fraction of the wages mandated by law.” Cuomo said some of the janitors employed by Espada Management Co. made “less than $70 per week, or the equivalent of under $1.70 per hour.” The attorney general said this arrangement allowed the Espadas to “minimize costs and maximize profits at Espada Management.”

Thursday afternoon, Senator Espada posted a status update to his Facebook page inviting Cuomo to “debate his baseless allegations at any forum.”

Pedro G. Espada also took to Facebook Thursday to discuss the attorney general’s suit. The younger Espada posted an update of his own this afternoon saying that he “just gave my first and only interview to NY 1.” Soon after, when someone posted a comment asking what was said in the interview, Pedro G. Espada wrote that he told the television station, “The truth and nothing but the truth so help me GOD.” As of this writing, both Espadas and the attorney general’s office have not responded to requests to comment on this story.

On Thursday afternoon at the Soundview Health Center on White Plains Road, children gathered for an anti-obesity event where they displayed mounds of sugar and dramatically poured out hundreds of soda cans.

“This is heartbreaking,” cried a tall sixth-grader clutching a can of orange soda. “They told us not to open it, but I really want to drink one,” said another.

The youngsters’ reluctance to pour the soft drinks into a storm drain in the clinic’s parking lot mirrored the hesitation of the adults to comment on the Espada scandal.

Inside, the waiting room was packed with patients. David Collymore, medical director of the Soundview Healthcare Network, sat in his small office surrounded by papers. On the wall hung a plaque from Senator Espada honoring Collymore for his dedication to quality health care for the local community. Collymore said the day’s anti-obesity event was “a clear indication that we will not let the negative press of the past week prevent the hospital or its staff from serving its patients.” When asked if he thought Espada’s business practices were draining resources from the Soundview health programs, Collymore said, “absolutely not.”

Additional reporting by Astrid Baez.

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