It’s a lovely thing when two of the Voice‘s favorite people lock horns. State senator Pedro Espada, whose political career both on the hustings and under investigation we have much covered, is complaining that he can hardly make a living in his job outside the political arena — head of the Soundview Healthcare Network — because his landlord is killing him on rent. That landlord is John Catsimatidis, the eccentric billionaire who, last time we checked, still expects to be elected mayor of New York.
According to Liz Benjamin, the point of their dispute is the Jessica Guzman Medical Center in the Bronx. Last year users of the center were frightened that it would close because of a rent dispute between the two lunatics. In January 2008 Espada signed a new lease on the Center, though he says he considered it exorbitant, deciding “to give in to the Grinch and give him his money.” Later he got the rental property appraised — hey, we ought to try that on our apartment! — and, after he was given a lower value than what he was paying, told Catsimatidis he was leaving. That was in September; he hasn’t paid rent since. Neither party has backed down, and Espada is moving patient records down the block to the main Soundview Health Center. “We worked diligently with Soundview,” said Catsimatidis’ spokesman. “Frankly, we’re surprised they terminated the lease.”