This week’s Voice offers another fascinating chapter in the saga of State Senator Pedro Espada Jr.: This one has to do with how, after getting himself suitably attired with a half-dozen fine suits for his Albany power meetings, the Bronx pol proceeded to stiff his tailors for their $7,200 bill.
But here’s one more Espada money mystery tale: His latest campaign finance disclosure statements are in, and they show that he claims to have spent a mere $14,875 since early July. Most of that — $9,500 — went to his Westchester-based attorney, Daniel L. Pagano, who tried and failed to knock Espada’s chief challenger, Gustavo Rivera, off the ballot.
The rest of Espada’s expenses went to a trio of campaign aides and the rental of a copying machine. Exactly where is that copier housed? It’s another Espada mystery since he has yet to report any rental expenses for an office, or any of the other usual campaign components such as mailings, printing, leaflets etc.
Espada’s first filing in early July for the campaign was similarly skimpy on the details: He doled out $7,900 to the Yankees for a fundraising event at the stadium; the rest of the money went mainly to Staples, where you can get many necessary campaign items, but which is not known to rent office space.
He also listed $42.17 spent at Key Food, which is an important clue since the rascal pol’s chief campaign weapon has been offering voters free fruit and vegetables.
Based on a poll released this week, it’s going to take a lot of bananas. The New Roosevelt Initiative, a group formed by ex-Democratic campaign finance chair Bill Samuels, reported that while 78 percent of voters know who Espada is, that’s not necessarily such a good thing: More than half of those who know him want to see him replaced in office. The leading candidate to do that is Rivera, a part-time college professor who has worked for a slew of Democrats including Barack Obama, Kirsten Gillibrand, and ex-Bronx beep Freddy Ferrer. Rivera’s relatively unknown in the district, the poll conducted by Red Horse Strategies found. Despite that, he still gives Espada an even-run for his money. A head-to-head match-up between the two had them at 32 percent apiece.