Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New York Senator Steals from Community Health Clinics


Citizens are outraged at the New York State Senate majority leader, Pedro Espada, Jr (Democrat), who has been charged with stealing more than $14 million from nonprofit health care clinics and using that money for apartments, Mercedes-Benz, meals, vacations and campaign expenses. Mr. Espada founded the organization and stacked its board with relatives and Senate employees. The foundation board includes two uncles, his sister's boyfriend and two daughters-in-law along with 5 past or current members of his staff.

According to the New York Times, it appears the looting has been going on for years and an outside accounting firm noted in 2007 that they were directed to ensure that Mr. Espada and his family were paid before any other financial obligations were met, including the clinics rent and utilities. The clinics failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes, even as it handed out millions of dollars to Mr. Espada. The non-profit clinics received their financing from federal and state governments (Medicare, Medicaid). Our taxes!

The phony board approved the Senator a $9 million severance package, which far exceeds the clinic's net assets, leaving the network insolvent.

Good work by attorney general Cuomo for filing a civil suit, but his is one we should track and make sure it is more than window dressing. A civil suit is fine, but criminal charges are warranted for this outrageous theft. No plea bargaining allowed...jail him and throw away the key.

11 comments:

Terence Coughlin said...

I live in the Capital District of NY, and trust me, many, many of us locals and New Yorkers are completely disgusted and angered by this story, along with with the underperformance of the entire NYS Senate legislative body as a whole.

Everyone deserves their day in court, and this Senator's day(s) cannot come soon enough.

Hopefully shortly after that, a new set of ethics rules will be passed - but no one is holding their breath over that happening.

Anonymous said...

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that this type of corruption is going on, but it never fails to get to me. the people that we most trust to keep the public good in mind are the ones that most undermine it. It is no wonder people are distrustful of all politicians. They have made us be so. Punishment should be swift. Please keep watching this story and letting us know if something happens...or if he gets off with a wrist slap.

Margaret Polaneczky, MD (aka TBTAM) said...

Incredible, shameful and disgusting.

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