State Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr. insists AG Andrew Cuomo's new lawsuit against him (like the last one) is filled with falsehoods and is just an attempted “political assassination,” the DN's Glenn Blain reports from the State Capitol:
“This is an attempt at a political assassination. I ask you: What did the attorney general not know last week that he is spewing out this week?" the embattled Espada demanded at a news conference.
Cuomo's lawsuit claims Espada and his son exploited janitorial workers at the family's health clinic business by classifying them as "trainees," enabling their company to pay a fraction of what state law would require.
Espada tried to turn it around on Cuomo, who's expected to announce his run for governor any time now:
“I repeat, this is a political assassination or an attempt at a political assassination delivered in installments and deliberately so designed to keep you from asking him the tough questions about when he announces and what his view and vision, leadership would mean to the budget process, again to the hard questions that face all New Yorkers.”
Espada insisted his management company is NOT a sham, as Cuomo alleges. Instead, he said it operates a legitimate program for “second-chance offenders” that trains people to do janitorial work at the medical centers.
The senator said the program pays a “stipend” to its workers -- but wouldn't reveal what that is.
Espada had lots more to say... Read on !
“It employs people who need a second chance in life," Espada said. "These people, many of them have felonies, and are trained in OSHA standards -- trained and fairly qualified in removal of medical waste. They are given certificates, etc. This is not a sham training program.”
“All of the participants in this program paid zero dollars to participate," he told reporters. "The company pays the participants a stipend… We don’t have to do this, but we do this to deal with the fact that, A, they have no money, no jobs and they need transportation and lunch, of course.”
Espada even claimed that workers get paid wages of $16 to $25 an hour once they graduate. (Cuomo's suit says it was more like $70 a week.)
“They were being trained in all aspects of janitorial work consistent with the requirements of the medical centers….This is on-the-job training where they go through a two-week period with a supervisor at the various sites and there is a whole curriculum and a training program.”
“Let's understand that these political stink bombs that he’s throwing in here, he never, ever really in his own mind thinks he’s going to be held accountable for it. It is supposed to destroy me.”