Thursday, April 22, 2010

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ISSUES SUBPOEANA TO STATE SENATE FOR EMPLOYEE RECORDS IN ONGOING ESPADA INVESTIGATION


Records, Including Hiring Documents and Time Sheets, Sought on Senate
Employees Who Were Also Affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Pedro
Espada’s Comprehensive Community Development Corporation

ALBANY, NY (April 22, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today
served the New York State Senate with a subpoena calling for the
production of records related to ten Senate employees who also served on
the board or were employed or retained by the Comprehensive Community
Development Corporation (“Soundview”), or its affiliated companies.

The subpoena is part of Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing
investigation into abusive practices at the Soundview not-for-profit in
the Bronx and specifically seeks records pertaining to application and
hiring, time and attendance, as well as travel and expenses for the
following Senate personnel (titles based on Senate payroll records):
John Feliciano, Former Special Assistant to Senator Pedro Espada;
Marzetta Harris, Senator Espada’s Director of Outreach; Monica
Harris-Coleman; Richard St. Paul, Counsel to Senator Espada; Jeanette
Torres, Senator Espada’s Office Research Manager and Charity Outreach
Coordinator; Andrew Yong, NYC Director of Community Relations / Policy
Analyst for Minority Community Relations; Jerry Love, Special Assistant
to Housing; Daniel Pagano, General Counsel; Ramona Lopez; and Joey
Williams, Administrative Assistant to Senator Espada.

“We want to know where these people worked and when. We also want to
know why they were hired and under what circumstances,” said Attorney
General Cuomo. “It should be no surprise given the nature of these
abuses that we would look to determine whether the misconduct reaches
into the State Senate. We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Today’s subpoena follows a lawsuit filed on April 20 by Attorney
General Cuomo against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. for
looting the Bronx based not-for-profit where Espada serves as President
and CEO. Nineteen current and former officers and directors of the
Comprehensive Community Development Corporation (“Soundview”) are
also named in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges Espada diverted Soundview’s charitable assets and
used the money for himself, his family, his friends, and his political
operation. In the past five years, Espada has siphoned more than $14
million out of Soundview, including an unconditionally guaranteed
severance package worth an estimated $9 million that was put into a
contract signed in 2005. The Chief Financial Officer and the Soundview
Board, which is packed with Espada’s family, friends, and Senate
employees, approved the transactions. The lawsuit seeks to permanently
remove Espada and current CFO Kenneth Brennan as officers of Soundview
and, similarly, to remove all of Soundview’s directors from the Board.
The lawsuit also seeks restitution from Senator Espada.

Soundview was founded by Pedro Espada Jr. with the purpose of providing
healthcare to the people of the South Bronx. It is a not-for-profit
that receives a vast majority of its funding from the state and federal
government.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Nathan Reilly
and Special Deputy Chief of Staff Mitra Hormozi.

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