Albany

Dinallo: AG Candidates Should Keep Quiet on Espada

AG hopeful Eric DiNallo slamming his Democratic primary opponents for weighing in on the Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. scandal, saying it’s inappropriate for anyone seeking to succeed the current AG, Andrew Cuomo, to comment on a case he or she might end up inheriting.

dinallo

Would-be AGs Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice and Sen. Eric Schneiderman both released statements yesterday saying Espada should voluntarily relinquish his post as majority leader in the wake of the civil charges slapped on him by Cuomo.

Dinallo also announced a six-point agenda for investigating public corruption, which includes stringent new disclosure requirements for charities (like, say, the Bronx-based Soundview, which Cuomo says Espada looted of more than $14 million), using the Tweed Law to investigate the misuse of public funds, and pursuing election law violations under the existing Executive Law.
More >

An Anti-Espada Earth Day Missive

New York League of Conservation Voters President Marcia Bystryn sent an Earth Day appeal to supporters this morning featuring Albany’s current Public Enenmy No. 1: Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr.

nyclvespada

The missive warns NYLCV supporters to be on the alert for so-called “greenwashing” – when elected officials make noises about loving the environment, but don’t put their money where their mouths are. Bystryn writes:

“As we’ve told you throughout this Earth Day campaign, here’s what Albany’s foes of the environment are proposing to do:

Deeply cut the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), whose dollars go toward protecting our drinking water, open space and recycling; Close state parks and campgrounds and slash staffing levels at our environmental enforcement agencies; and Steal from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Fund, which was set up to invest in our clean-energy economy, not serve as a piggy bank for politicians.”

Bystryn goes on to make a pitch for the NYCLV’s Climate Action PAC, which the organization uses to support candidates and elected officials it deems supportive of its platform.

Traditionally, a slew of Earth Day events would be taking place at the Capitol today, but those have fallen victim to budget cuts – along with so many other things in Albany and around the state.

Lawmakers did manage to pass a slew of Earth Day-inspired bills earlier this week.

‘Shame On You, Bill Perkins’

As Sen. Bill Perkins prepares to hold a hearing to, as he puts it, “look at the books of companies affiliated with charter schools” today, the pro-charter organization Education Reform Now has launched a new ad that features parents scolding the Harlem Democrat.

The ad has been added to the mix of spots already in rotation in the downstate market, and will be a “significant part” of the buy, according to a spokesman for the group.

Perkins is under fire from charter school advocates, who are shopping for a potential primary opponent to take him on this fall. They might be assisted by allies of Gov. David Paterson and Rep. Charlie Rangel, who aren’t pleased with the outspoken senator’s willingness to speak his mind about these embattled fellow Dems.

The senator, who holds Paterson’s old seat, has been widely speculated to be eyeing a potential primary challenge to Rangel, but he is so far keeping his powder dry. Perkins formally announced his re-election campaign last weekend.

charter school ad from Elizabeth Benjamin on Vimeo.

EXCLUSIVE: Sampson Questions Cuomo’s Espada Case

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson is sticking by embattled Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., suggesting during an interview with me this afternoon that AG Andrew Cuomo could have gone much harder on the Bronx lawmaker if his alleged misdeeds were indeed so nefarious.

Cuomo yesterday called the charges he levied against Espada “outrageous,” adding: “I have not seen anything on this scale.”

Sampson, who is an attorney, stopped short of agreeing with Espada’s claim that Cuomo’s case was politically motivated, but did say “there were things that the attorney general could have done.”

“You have to think about the magnitude of this,” Sampson told me. “He could have asked for a temporary restraining order, which prevented Senator Espada’s health care from receiving any monies from any government entities or he could ask for a preliminary injunction, which again would have prevented his entity from operating.”

“These are things he could have utilized to prevent his facility from operating if there is such widespread abuse, fraud and mismanagement going on. And people need to think that and you wouldn’t know that unless you had a legal mind and you know the remedies available to the attorney general.”

More >

Rice: Espada Should Give Up Title, Lulu (UpdatedX2)

Add Nasasu County DA Kathleen Rice to the list of elected officials calling on Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. to voluntarily abdicate his leadership post and the perks that come with it in light of his current legal troubles.

KathleenRice_2009

(For the record, Espada doesn’t receive a lulu for the majority leader job. He does, however, get a $12,500 stipend for his position as Housing Committee chairman).

Rice is the first of the would-be Democrats seeking to replace AG Andrew Cuomo to issue a formal statement in the wake of his filing of a civil suit yesterday that accused Espada of bilking his Bronx nonprofit of some $14 million worth of charitable funds.

The DA also issued a challenge to her primary opponents to join her in calling for Espada to step down. That strikes me as a barb particularly directed at the lone Senator in the field, Eric Schneiderman, who so far hasn’t said anything about Espada’s predicament.
More >

Silver: Let Senate Clean Up Its Own Mess

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the legal mess surrounding Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is a “horrendous situation,” but he declined to opine on whether the embattled Bronx Democrat should step down from his leadership post.

“I think the Senate should deal under their own internal rules,” the speaker told reporters, including NY1’s Erin Billups.

“I think they should not lose focus on the fact that we need a budget right now and that should be the prime focus right now.”

More >

Kauffmann’s New Job

Peter Kauffmann, who resigned his post as Gov. David Paterson’s communications director in the wake of ethics charges brought against his boss by the Public Integrity Commission, has landed a new job in the private sector.

The AP reports Kauffmann will join the College Board, a collegiate testing and student service company, as vice president for communications.

Kauffmann worked for Hillary Clinton and the state Democratic Party and also did a stint as an intelligence officer for the US Navy, he joined Paterson’s staff on March 23, 2009 as part of a communications shake-up in the wake of the Caroline Kennedy debacle.

He abruptly stepped down in March, saying he could not “in good conscience” continue working for Paterson after a PIC report made it clear the governor had not been truthful with him about the circumstances surrounding the World Series game for which he obtained tickets from the New York Yankees.

Breslin To Espada: ‘Resign Immediately’ (Updated)

Sen. Neil Breslin, who has made no secret of his dislike for Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. since last summer’s coup, said today the latest charges against his colleague only proves his worst fears were correct.

Given the developments of yesterday and this morning, Espada should “resign his leadership post immediately,” Breslin told Capital Tonight’s Kaitlyn Ross.

Breslin202009

“The voters of the Bronx elected him, and it’s a civil action, but…let’s get back some order to the Senate pending the resolution of his civil case,” Breslin said.

“…Obviously, if it went beyond that I would have much, much stronger opinions about what should happen immediately.”

Breslin said he has personally informed Espada of his desire that the scandal-scarred lawmaker “step down voluntarily to bring some dignity and respect back to the New York State Senate.”

While he feels secure as a fellow Democrat in pressing Espada to give up his title, Breslin rejected Republican Sen. Marty Golden’s planned resolution that would force a vote to do just that, calling it “pandering.”
More >

Golden Pledges Resolution Seeking Espada’s Removal

Sen. Marty Golden was one of the few senators willing to talk on the record – and on camera – about the latest legal troubles to beset Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr., pledging to introduce a resolution that seeks to strip the Bronx Democrat of his leadership post.

“The State of New York deserves better,” Golden told me last night.

“If somebody commits a crime, they deserve to go to jail. If they break the law, they shouldn’t be the majority leader of the State of New York. They should step aside. They should give up their lulu they should wait until these investigations are completed. The people of the State of New York are fed up with this corruption.”

More >

Espada Otherwise Engaged

On the heels of this morning’s FBI/IRS/AG Andrew Cuomo raid of his Bronx nonprofit Soundview Healthcare Network and the civil suit filed against him yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. apparently is a bit too preoccupied to attend to his day job.

alg_pedro_espada

Espada called in to Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson’s office this morning to inform the powers-that-be he would not be showing up for work today.

“He’ll be excused for the day,” confirmed Sampson spokesman Austin Shafran. “He said he had to deal with a personal business matter.”

He’s not missing much, since the Senate has a fairly light schedule as today is a so-called “getaway” day. The Legislature has reverted to its usual three-day workweek since blowing the April 1 budget deadline.

No significant progress has been made toward a budget deal, so Espada’s vote – crucial to the 32-member Democratic conference’s ability to pass legislation – won’t be missed.