State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is in a fair amount of shit. It seems New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo has it out for him, or at least has it out for politicians who brazenly break the law and shadily shuffle around big dollar amounts like they’re the villain in a comic book. Because that’s Espada’s style, according to a new lawsuit that alleges millions of dollars in misappropriated funds and a host of other offenses. Worst of all, he doesn’t tip well.
Some diligent reporting (and Facebook stalking) by Runnin’ Scared’s down and dirty ally Hunter Walker runs down the case and Espada’s defense, which unfortunately starts on social network.
According to the lawsuit, Espada used his low-cost health care company, Soundview, where he serves as president and CEO, as a “personal piggybank,” to the tune of $14 million, while providing himself and his family fat contracts and favorable business deals. Plus, he might not even live in the district he’s elected to serve, as his sushi habits (and delivery address) may attest to. Espada allegedly uses his corporate credit card for campaign and personal expenses including $20,000 at two sushi spots.
Peter Chen, the owner of both restaurants, said the Espadas visited Red Plum “probably once a week” and ordered takeout from Toyo Sushi “three or four times a month.” Though he said he couldn’t recall if they had a favorite dish, Chen said the Espadas were “average tippers.”
None of this looks very good, especially the average tipper crack, but worst of all is the Espada family’s defense plan, which seems to be all Facebook, all the time. The senator’s son, Pedro Gautier Espada, posted the following message on Wednesday, snagged by Walker before it was deleted:
“Who ever thinks that the liberties and freedoms we enjoy as Americans are free has never paid and must walk through life with blinders on. The truth is, those principles that our union uses as it’s foundation are very expensive. They have been paid for in blood. sacrifice, sweat and tears. Today I keep my head up knowing that someway I have paid a small price in maintaining the very principles of our existence.”
And just yesterday, Espada himself took to the trusty status update to profess his innocence:
Notice the supportive “like” from little Pedro. Nothing says guilty like an overzealous Internet presence.