Cuomo Charges Espada For ‘Looting’ Soundview
AG Andrew Cuomo just announced he has filed suit against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. and 19 former and current executives of his Bronx nonprofit, Soundview, accusing them of “looting” the organization’s charitable assets and using the money for the senator’s personal and political gain.
The AG alleges Espada siphoned more than $14 million from Soundview, including an unconditionally guaranteed severance package worth an estimated $9 million which was put into a contract signed in 2005.
Soundview also paid approximately $80,000 in restaurant bills for 650 separate meals for Espada or his supporters – including more than 200 meals totaling more than $20,000 from two sushi restaurants that regularly received orders from Espada’s wife and delivered to the Espada home in Mamaroneck (!).
The nonprofit also paid for trips Espada, his wife and other family members took to Las Vegas, Miami, Puerto Rico that were purported to be “business trips,” provided employees to work on his 2008 re-election bid and paid for $100,000 worth of campaign literature.
In addition, Soundview provides Espada with a $2,500 per-month housing allowance for the Bronx apartment he insists is his main residence.
The Soundview CFO and its board, which is packed with Espada’s family, friends, and Senate employees, approved the transactions.
“Taxpayer money was given to this not-for-profit to provide healthcare services to underprivileged patients, but our investigation has found the funds flowed into the pockets of Senator Espada and his supporters,” Cuomo said in a press release.
“Siphoning money from a charity would be egregious under any circumstances, but the fact that this was orchestrated by the State Senate Majority Leader makes it especially reprehensible. In New York, no one is above the law, and this suit should finally make that clear to Senator Espada.”
Part and current board members of Soundview include:
- Current Board member Victor Feliciano is Espada’s uncle.
- Current Board member Marzetta Harris is an employee of the New York State Senate.
- Current Board member Monica Harris-Coleman is an employee of the New York State Senate.
- Current Board member Victor Sierra is the boyfriend of Espada’s sister.
- Current Board member Jeanette Torres is the mother of Espada’s grandchild and is also an employee of the New York State Senate.
- Current Board member Lidisbelle Pacheco is the mother of another of Espada’s grandchildren.
- Former Board member Jacqueline Collazo is Espada’s niece.
- Former Board member John Feliciano is Espada’s uncle and was an employee of the New York State Senate while he was on the Board.
- Former Board member Lourdes Rivera was engaged to Espada’s son when she was on the board. They are now married.
- Former Board member Andrew Yong is now employed by the New York State Senate.
Individuals named in the suit include:
● Pedro Espada, Jr., President and CEO of Soundview, Bronx NY and Mamaroneck, NY ● Kenneth T. Brennan, Vice President of Finance and CFO, Tarrytown, NY ● Lydia Almeyda, Bronx, NY ● Barbara Braxton, Bronx, NY ● Constance Bruno, Woodridge, NY ● Jacqueline Collazo, Bronx, NY ● Beverly Crosby, New York, NY ● John Feliciano a/k/a Juan Feliciano, address unknown ● Victor Feliciano, Bronx, NY ● Marzetta Harris, Bronx, NY ● Monica Harris-Coleman, New York, NY ● Evette Maduro Pagan, Bronx, NY ● Charlotte McDuffie, Bronx, NY ● Lidisbelle Pacheco, Yonkers, NY ● Lourdes Rivera a/k/a Lourdes Mocete a/k/a Lourdes Espada, Fairfield, CT ● Victor Sierra, address unknown ● Genoveva “Jenny” Torres, Bronx, NY ● Jeanette Torres, Mamaroneck, NY ● Andrew Yong, New York, NY ● Doris Yong, Forest Hills, NY
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on April 20, 2010 at 11:47 am, and is filed under Albany, Andrew Cuomo, Pedro Espada, State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|