Ex-state senator accused of using taxpayer money to fund home improvement
In the fifth week of the corruption trial in Brooklyn Federal Court of ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr. and his son, Pedro Espada, prosecutors alleged that the former senator billed thousands of dollars of home improvement purchases to his non-profit organization, the New York Daily News reported. They found government receipts showing Espada billed $8,606 worth of Home Depot purchases, including a garage door, a picket fence, a front door, a security light, a water heater and window shades, to his Soundview HealthCare Network, which the Daily News said is funded by taxpayers. Prosecutors said that none of the items were for the health clinic.
Espada countered that these indictments come from a political vendetta against him, as the health clinic’s accountants advised him that billing Soundview for personal expenses was permissable. He even charged a $1.09 pack of gum to his non-profit.
The evidence is just part of a larger corruption case against Espada that accuses him of using $500,000 in taxpayer funds, through various means, to purchase vacations, cars and, most famously, $20,000 of takeout sushi. [NYDN]