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].

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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