Law and Favors in the Bronx

Secret Tapes Catch Pols Speaking Their Minds

Larry Seabrook: Interfering in what? [Inaudible] does he think he is?

Jose Serrano: I can't believe he told Sharpton, a citywide leader, to stay out of the Bronx.

Sharpton: Hey . . . I set him straight [inaudible].

Pedro Espada Jr. taped Bronx Democratic Leader Roberto Ramirez and others talking about an investigation by District Attorney Robert Johnson.
Pedro Espada Jr. taped Bronx Democratic Leader Roberto Ramirez and others talking about an investigation by District Attorney Robert Johnson.

Seabrook: What was he talking about? [Inaudible] What about the Bronx?

Sharpton: When I went to Co-op City to open the New Political Club.

Seabrook: Bullshit. We control Co-op City.

Sharpton: Let me tell [inaudible].

Seabrook: . . . We can't let him dictate.

Sharpton: Anyway, I said I had several interests in the Bronx. . . . I said Seabrook should be congressman [inaudible]. It's a black district. Espada and his son are my friends . . . [inaudible]. They helped me and Serrano . . . [inaudible] . . . if you mess with him, I'll spend all summer in the Bronx.

Gidron: See . . . fucking Roberto [inaudible] [Congressman Eliot] Engel owes me $400,000 [inaudible] ain't gonna give me my $400,000 so I definitely want him out [inaudible]. I told Freddy and I told Roberto. . . . They have to keep their word.

Sharpton: Well, Roberto did say that Seabrook should be congressman, but not this time.

Gidron: I'm supporting Seabrook now [inaudible]. That fucking Engel owes me $400,000 and the district is black. It should be Seabrook now [inaudible]. Keep their word.

Serrano: You know [inaudible]. He's my colleague . . . and I can't officially take sides but he knows I'm with Seabrook, Sharpton, and Espada.

Sharpton: [Inaudible] He said that [Assemblywoman] Gloria Davis says Serrano is antiblack [inaudible] something back in Roberto's race against Gloria.

Serrano: Yeah . . . I supported Roberto. I was also the only one to support Jesse in '84 and '88 and Dinkins [inaudible] antiblack. I can't believe him.

Sharpton: Well, he said [inaudible] "You like all my enemies." He said Espada has problems . . . some legal problems. If he runs, he has more legal problems. [Inaudible] He said if Espada runs, Serrano gets a primary [inaudible]. It's war, he said.

Gidron: You see, this is bullshit [inaudible] crazy talk. Espada, what's going on?

Pedro Espada Jr: Well . . . I can't . . .

Gidron: Are you gonna run?

Espada: I don't want to, but they're harassing me and my friends and my businesses . . . I may have to run.

Seabrook: Tell him [inaudible] harassment.

Espada: They've got Johnson doing a number on me.

Sharpton: The feds cleared Espada [inaudible]. The feds don't play and they cleared him.

Gidron: What are they saying [inaudible]?

Espada: It has to do with my '96 campaign, and they're harassing my son, too.

Gidron: This is bullshit. I can resolve this shit easily. Bob is my friend. He [inaudible]. He helped me with Velella. He helped me with my son. He helped me with you, Seabrook. I'll call right now. This sounds [inaudible].

Seabrook: That's true, they had Velella with the school board mess and they haven't touched him. They do not [inaudible]. But it's Freddy. Freddy calls the shots. He's the one that did me [inaudible] him, Engel, and [former Ferrer aide Clint] Roswell.

Gidron: Bob's not there. I'll call Freddy and Roberto.

Serrano: [Inaudible]. How's he going to say I'm antiblack [inaudible].

Sharpton: You don't have to defend [inaudible]. That's what he said. You were there for me. Freddy and Roberto were with Ruth [Messinger, during her 1997 mayoral bid], and Freddy never really supported Dave [Dinkins] [inaudible].

Gidron: Freddy's away. I left a message for Roberto, and too [inaudible]. They'll call back. [Inaudible] I wouldn't support Dave. I gave Dave a lot of money. I sold one fucking car . . . one lousy car [inaudible] the whole time.

Sharpton: You did better than a lot of people [inaudible] with Dave.

Gidron: That's why I'm supporting [then U.S. Senator] D'Amato [inaudible]. They're angry, but he comes through [inaudible] not one car. Look, I commit myself to setting up a meeting [inaudible] right here with Freddy, Roberto, and Bob Johnson.

Seabrook: Bob will come?

Gidron: Look, Bob's my friend. I can get Bob on board, but Freddy can be hardheaded [inaudible]. But this is bullshit. Have you spoken to Freddy or Roberto?

Espada: I've had meetings with Roberto. He wants me to retire. He wants me to issue a press release announcing that I am out of politics. After I issue this, then he'll drop the investigation.

Gidron: Do you want to run?

Espada: I want to be left alone, and I don't want them messing with my son, Councilman Espada.

Serrano: [Inaudible] I want to be left alone too. I'm the most senior Latino public official and [inaudible] more than Roberto and Freddy.

Sharpton: Freddy punked [inaudible]. I went the distance. You're looking at the next mayor right here [inaudible], or maybe it will be Serrano, but not Freddy.

Gidron: Look, fellas [inaudible]. I gotta sell some cars. To summarize, I'll be talking to Bob, Freddy, and Roberto [inaudible] Serrano should be left alone. I mean, we haven't worked that closely, but Brother Al here [inaudible] he likes you. Espada will not run and the bullshit will stop and they have to keep their word with Seabrook. Now, we're all men [inaudible]. Let's keep our word.

JUNE 4, 1998: ESPADA AND RAMIREZ OUTSIDE THE VILLA BARONE RESTAURANT IN THE BRONX:

Ramirez: You should come inside [inaudible].

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