Wednesday, August 20, 2008

ESPADA'S BAIL MONEY

YFP asks the question: "Where did the bail money come from? Possibly Soundview Health Care?
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Home away from home

BY N. CLARK JUDD
State Senate candidate Pedro Espada Jr. recently testified to state Supreme Court officials in the Bronx that he lives in Bedford Park — but told state Supreme Court officials in Westchester nearly two months ago that he resides in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Mr. Espada’s residency has become an issue in his campaign to unseat incumbent Efrain Gonzalez Jr. in the Democratic primary election for his 33rd District seat. The district encompasses parts of Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights and Van Cortlandt Village and parts of the Northwest Bronx as far east as Bedford Park and Norwood and as far south as Mount Hope and East Tremont.

According to a document provided to The Riverdale Press by Mr. Gonzalez’s son, Carlos, Mr. Espada testified in a written affidavit, dated June 24, that he resides on Beechwood Drive in Mamaroneck. But in order to run against Mr. Gonzalez, he must live in the district — in the East 201st Street co-op he paid $225,000 for in 2007, for example.

Questioned in Bronx court on Aug. 7, Mr. Espada also testified that he owns four vehicles, of which three are registered in Mamaroneck and the fourth is registered to his Soundview Health Clinic in the Bronx; that he does not have a bank account at his Bronx address; and that he just two weeks ago notified the Department of Motor Vehicles that he had moved to the Bronx.
Mr. Espada is confident that his testimony won’t hurt him.

“This is kind of scattershot, see-what-sticks nonsense, which has nothing to do with my eligibility to run for public office,” he said last week.
He resides in Mamaroneck, but his Bronx coop is his primary residence, he said.
“I have the right as a citizen to own more than one residence,” he said, and adds that he pays New York City taxes.

The Westchester Supreme Court document was an affidavit in which he posted $250,000 bail for 19-year-old Bronx native Carlos Mocete. Mr. Mocete is facing trial for two charges of felony robbery stemming from incidents near Bridgeport, Conn. as well as separate misdemeanor charges, according to online court records.

Mr. Espada says he is not related to Mr. Mocete but would not say how he knows the man.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said, “it has nothing to do with my residency, it has nothing to do with my candidacy, it has everything to do with them trying to throw red herrings and trying to distract attention from Mr. Gonzalez’s indictment for stealing $500,000.”

The elder Mr. Gonzalez is in fact accused of routing about $400,000 of taxpayer money into his own pocket via a Bronx non-profit. He was expected to appear in court Tuesday to ask that those charges be dismissed.
Mr. Espada says the challenge to his petitions is itself invalid. He expects court officials to issue a report on his case on Aug. 13.
This is part of the August 14, 2008 online edition of The Riverdale Press
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