Attorney general Andrew Cuomo’s investigation of Soundview, the medical business run by state senator Pedro Espada Jr., is getting bigger. His office released an “affirmation” by Mitra Hormozi, one of Cuomo’s lawyers, which Liz Benjamin calls a “bombshell,” as it alleges “extensive evidence” of various campaign finance and tax improprieties by the senator and/or his cohorts.
The document states there is evidence that the non-profit Soundview “entered contracts with a for-profit company owned and controlled by Mr. Espada called Soundview Management Enterprises LLC,” aka the Espada Management Company, which “allowed Mr. Espada to siphon off and otherwise divert money from Soundview for Mr. Espada’s own personal and political benefit.”
Hormozi says that Espada Management got a $396K maintenance contract — well above the alleged $270K market rate for such services — transferred from a Soundview affiliate called Expansion to Espada with “no valid justification.”
The statement also claims that Espada’s political campaign received money from Espada Management that was not revealed in mandatory campaign finance disclosures. (Such disclosures have been a problem for Espada in the past.) The AG’s office also found that Espada Management employee payroll costs “spiked dramatically” in the campaign season, despite a relatively stable number of workers, suggesting that someone was getting extra pay for political work, an “in-kind” contribution that was not disclosed. (Espada’s son’s salary “almost doubled” in that period, and appears to have terminated right after the election.)
The AG is said to be investigating “myriad labor law violations” and “possible tax violation issues” relating to Espada, and betrayal of fiduciary responsibilities by various related board members.