Friday, December 31, 2010


In 1968, at the age of 16, Reynaldo Robledo came to the United States as a mexican migrant farm worker earning $1.10 per hour. He was born in the town of Zamora, high atop the Sierra Madre mountains in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. After years of toiling in the vineyards Reynaldo is now a vineyard owner and producer of fine wine. Reynaldo invites you to visit his tasting room decorated with handmade furniture from his home town. As a sign of pride and commitment, wife Maria and all nine children work for the family business. Reynaldo considers his life the true "American Dream." One of his son said to YFP, "On Christmas, instead of baseball bat—we got a shovel."

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

The FOLLOWING video is Lazaro Robledo, the manager of the Robledos tasting room.
video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bronx BP Diaz, Mayor Bloomberg do battle over plans for Kingsbridge Armory

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz is protesting Mayor Bloomberg's plan to block moving a National Guard unit from the Kingsbridge Armory.
Noonan for News
Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz is protesting Mayor Bloomberg's plan to block moving a National Guard unit from the Kingsbridge Armory.

The battle between Mayor Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. over the Kingsbridge Armory escalated Thursday.

Diaz, backed by a group of elected officials and community leaders, brought the fight to City Hall, where they protested the mayor's plan to block moving a National Guard unit from the armory to an Army reserve center.

The city instead wants to put a homeless shelter in the Sgt. Joseph E. Muller Army Reserve Center in Wakefield, a neighborhood that locals charge is becoming oversaturated with homeless shelters.

Moving the National Guard unit out of the armory would make room for badly needed schools and open the way for armory development, say Diaz and the group.

Diaz killed Bloomberg's development plan to turn the armory into a shopping mall, and on Wednesday effectively blocked the homeless shelter plan by boycotting a key vote.

The reserve center is still owned by the Army, subject to any request for use by the city.

"You can't run for President ... until you lend an ear to the common folk," Diaz said yesterday on the steps of City Hall. "Learn your lesson here."

"It is shameful this administration has ignored the collective voice of the Bronx," added state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx-Westchester). "Enough is enough. You have to stop."

The mayor claims he is complying with federal regulations governing the disposition of shuttered military property.

"The federal base-closure process gives priority to homeless assistance facilities," said a mayoral spokeswoman.

A Local Redevelopment Authority was formed to decide the center's future, with Diaz and two deputy mayors as the voting body.

Diaz skipped the last two LRA meetings, leaving it without a quorum.

Some have suggested that Bloomberg's insistence on a homeless shelter is revenge for Diaz's scuttling the Kingsbridge Armory redevelopment.

Diaz had insisted armory tenants pay a "living wage" to their workers. The developer, The Related Companies, ditched its plans to redevelop the site.

"The mayor is being vindicative and petty," charged the Rev. Richard Gorman, chairman of Community Board 12. "This is payback for Kingsbridge."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

40 Years Ago It Was The Lindsay Snow Storm, Today the Media Kid Gloves Shields Bloomberg From Blame"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Get Out of Queens You Bum Lindsay"

Perhaps no event has shown how much the media is in the tank with the mayor than the Sunday's snowstorm. 40 years ago the NYT, Daily News and other media charged Mayor Lindsay for Paralyzed the city Remembering a Snowstorm That Paralyzed the City(NYT) * WINTER OF DISCONTENT LINDSAY'S SNOWSTORM, 1969 (DN) * The "Lindsay Snowstorm" (Feb. 9-10, 1969) * WINTER OF DISCONTENT LINDSAY?S SNOWSTORM, 1969 (DN)

Today the Media Shields the Mayor From Blame

Outrage as transit stops, Bloomy insists 'the city is going on' (NYP) * Choreographing a Snowplow Ballet, to Mixed Reviews (Again) (NYT) *Christmas Blizzard of 2010: LaGuardia, JFK airports are back flying, but mass transit remains a mess (DN)

Even the NYP Editorial Was Soft on the Mayor Next time, try harder (NYP Ed) After 9 years of practice in office and his eye on the presidency fat chance.

When real problems were written about the media distanced blame from the mayor or included this public relations team spin - Mayor explanation for 3 hour 911 backup "To many non emergency calls"

Only the WSJ Brought Up the Budget Cuts as a possible cause Budget Cuts Seen Slowing Cleanup(WSJ)

Only the Staten Island Advance Allowed Anger to Be Expressed Against the Mayor

Islanders slam pathetic blizzard response: City gets an 'F'

"NOBODY is plowed," one Sunnyside resident told the Advance after comparing notes with friends in other Island neighborhoods. "Everybody is cursing Sanitation and the mayor. Something went terribly wrong with the city's response to this." . . . "While Bloomberg ate a snack of pickles, coleslaw and Saltine crackers at the diner, callers flooded the Advance newsroom with queries about transit service. Many said they were frustrated after not being able to reach 311 for answers." . . . "It left Islanders scratching their heads about the root cause of the inadequate response. Some suggested it was the result of Sanitation workers' engaging in a deliberate slowdown as a result of a labor dispute with the mayor. Others thought the city was caught off-guard with staffing levels at a bare minimum during the Christmas weekend. And some deemed the cause simpler yet: Failure of leadership at City Hall."

When the Media Creates A False Reality It Changes History and

Media Cover Ups Public Anger

In the 60's when the media was less corporate owned and public relations experts did not influence reporters like today the public anger came out Mayor Lindsay and ended his political future.

The Lindsay Snow Storm

A few months later the mayor lost the republican primary. Lindsay was re-elected as an independent but his career was over. He made an embarrassing attempt to run for president in 1972. People from Queens traveled to primaries and heckled him. In 1980 Lindsay ran in the New York democratic primary for U.S. Senate. He came in third with 15 percent of the vote. By the 1990?s he was sick and broke. Mayor Giuliani appointed him to some city jobs so he would qualify for a pension and health care. He died in 2000.

Mayor John Lindsay, the republican Kennedy they called him, nearing the end of his first term went to Queens and attempted to walk the streets to calm people. His limo got stuck. He got in a four wheel drive truck but it didn?t help. Lindsay walked. Just as he did in Harlem when he stopped race riots from breaking out the year before. The storm was crueler. People booed him. Others yelled ” get out of here you bum.”

NY's Dumbest; NYC sanitation workers destroy a Ford Explorer (Video)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The indictments may keep coming for Pedro and Pedro G. Espada

Outgoing State Senator Pedro Espada (center right) and his son, Pedro G. Espada (behind him) were indicted last week.
Ward for News
Outgoing State Senator Pedro Espada (center right) and his son, Pedro G. Espada (behind him) were indicted last week.

The grand jury may not be finished just yet with state Sen. Pedro Espada.

The Espadas, dad Pedro and son Pedro G., were indicted last week, charged with tap dancing on the books at their Soundview Healthcare empire.

We now hear that Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, may be preparing a superceding indictment slamming them with income tax charges.

Last week's indictment charged them with stealing a half million dollars from the clinic chain for such personal goodies as $20,000 in sushi deliveries to the senator's home in Mamaroneck, outside his Bronx district.

That plus 49G from a Soundview subsidiary as a down payment on a $125,000 Bentley, 14G on sports events and Broadway shows, and even a pony and petting zoo (any bunnies?) for a family birthday.

As for the timing of the indictment, which had been rumored to hit sometime after February, some quarters believe Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo pushed to drop the hammer on the Espadas while he was still attorney general, and Pedro, defeated in the November elections, was still a state senator.

But there are those that say that U.S. Attorney Lynch does things her way, period.

Oh, and why not the Manhattan U.S. attorney handling the case?

We're told the case jurisdiction revolves around some checks being mailed out of Jericho, L.I., within the Eastern District.

But then again, as one cynic pondered, could it have been to avoid a Bronx-centric pro-defendant jury?

Amigo wanted

State Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. joking, "I have an opening for an amigo now."

The Rev created his fair share of tsuris in Albany by joining with amigos/banditos Pedro, Hiram Monserrate and Brooklyn's Carl Kruger to shake down/shake up Albany.

But even with all that, Diaz said he believes some good did come out of it "even though we never got the credit for what we did for the Hispanic community."

That includes the first Hispanic secretary of the Senate, Angelo Aponte; the chairmanships of the Housing, Transportation, Aging and Consumer Affairs Committees, and the first Latino majority leader.

But with Republicans regaining control of the Senate, probably thanks in part to Pedro's Albany hijinks - "All that is lost."

Board of Elections shakeup

The last of former Bronx Dem Party Chief Jose Rivera's patronage appointments are disappearing.

Latest to go is Anna Torres, Democratic co-deputy chief at the Bronx Board of Elections, who submitted her resignation last week.

Torres' hubby is ex-west Bronx Assemblyman and current Bronx County Clerk Luis Diaz.

New Bronx Dem Boss Carl Heastie is expected to announce her replacement Tuesday.

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From the inception of the new bike lanes, there has been controversy. The fact is that Mayor Bloombito "stuck it" to NYC motorists because he was defeated in his congestion tax proposal.
Thus, in his attempt to curry favor with the bike crowd, he has created another and perhaps lethal traffic hazard.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Update on Ft. Hamilton Pedestrian Islands Issue
Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) met today with New York City Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner David Wallach about the recent installation of pedestrian islands along Fort Hamilton Parkway. The meeting took place at the contested site, where Hikind was able to demonstrate to the Deputy Commissioner the extreme dangers the islands pose to first responders, firefighters and sanitation workers, as well as the frustration of business owners and motorists.

Since the installation of the islands, firefighters have reported that their response time has been slowed, while the ability of ambulance companies to swiftly reach Maimonides Medical Center has also been negatively impacted. At the Community Board 12 meeting last week, Hikind relayed an incident where a patient in cardiac arrest, who was being transported to Maimonides, died en route to the hospital after traffic was snarled because of the pedestrian islands.“Did DOT consult with the people who live and work in this community before installing these islands?” Hikind asked Mr. Wallach. “Did you take into consideration that Maimonides is one of the busiest hospitals in New York City, with dozens of ambulance companies shuttling patients to the emergency room, where every second counts?”

Hikind also asked Deputy Commissioner Wallach what criteria the DOT used in selecting the four blocks along Fort Hamilton Parkway where the pedestrian islands were installed.Of the ongoing battle to remove the islands, Hikind said, “The fight is not over. But at least now, the DOT is listening to our concerns. If the community is as determined as I am to fight this, then with God’s help, we will be successful in getting these islands removed.”Deputy Commissioner Wallach promised to convey Hikind’s questions and remarks to his superiors and report back to the Assemblyman. The DOT has previously defended the installation of the islands, claiming they were necessary to improve senior safety.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Sandy Dahmra (L) with Muhammed Khalil (R) (Photo/Steve Sandberg, 1010 WINS)

Reporting Steve Sandberg
PATERSON, N.J. (1010 WINS) — A New Jersey father says he’s being denied custody of his young solely because he’s a Muslim.
At a news conference Tuesday, Muhammed Khalil told reporters including 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg that a Division of Youth and Family Services worker unleashed a barrage of insults at him in a crowded Paterson restaurant.
1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
Khalil, a green card holder originally from Egypt, said the case worker asked him “where is your knife? You’ll slit my throat” and also asked “where is your bomb strapped on you?”
Another Muslim woman, Sandy Dahmra, who was with Khalil at the restaurant, was allegedly told “go back to your country.”
Both Khalil and Dahmra said they had other comments directed toward them including “terrorist,” “Bin Laden lover” and “why don’t you call your Allah.”
The case worker also publicly declared he would never get his boy back, Khalil said.
Khalil has not seen his 6-year-old son since he was taken from his mother’s home a year ago and placed with foster parents for reasons unknown because of privacy laws. Khalil was not living there at the time and is separated from the boy’s mother.
Khalil wants an investigation and said the worker also violated privacy laws by disclosing the case in public. Ultimately, though, Khalil said he just wants his little boy back.
“I only want my son. I want my son,” he said, breaking into tears. “I think I have all the reason to have my son with me, give him toys, enjoy with him.”
Khalil claimed he has had run-ins with the case worker before, but that there were never any witnesses.
The Department of Children and Families said it was “aware of the alleged incident” and “is looking into this allegation.”
The agency said it “continues to have an ongoing dialogue” with CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations), which is supporting Khalil in his fight.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mayor Michael Bloomberg tries to explain CityTime mess saying $80M debacle 'slipped thru cracks'

Mayor Bloomberg blamed the unforeseen complexity of computerizing the city's multi-layered payrolls for CityTime debacle.
Hermann for News
Mayor Bloomberg blamed the unforeseen complexity of computerizing the city's multi-layered payrolls for CityTime debacle.

Mayor Bloomberg Friday offered a simple explanation for how the bloated CityTime project became a nest of fraud.

Stuff happens.

"You can't look every place," the mayor said on his weekly WOR radio appearance. "I'm not trying to excuse it. It is something we certainly should focus on. On the other hand, if you want to know how big projects have big things that slip through the cracks, this is as good an example as you need."

In response, critics wondered how such a debacle could occur under the nose of a mayor who prides himself on his managerial skills.

"We need you to do what you said you could do, which is manage finances," said Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn).

The mayor's explanation came after four highly paid CityTime consultants and two others were arrested on charges of siphoning $80 million out of a project where costs have ballooned radically.

CityTime, an attempt to convert thousands of public employees to electronic timesheets, is years behind schedule and hundreds of millions of dollars overbudget.

As part of its expanding probe, the city Department of Investigation spoke on Thursday with Joel Bondy, the director of the Office of Payroll Administration, which oversaw the project, sources say.

Later that day, Bondy was suspended without pay.

Investigators say the alleged ringleader of the conspiracy, Mark Mazer, had unusual access to Bondy during the project. A lawyer for Mazer insisted yesterday that his client made no payments to Bondy.

"Joel Bondy did not receive a dollar from my client," said attorney Gerald Shargel. "Plainly stated, there was no corruption. The relationship between Mr. Mazer and Mr. Bondy was well within ethical and legal boundaries."

The DOI investigation alleges Mazer and three other computer consultants stole millions of taxpayer dollars by inflating consultant hours and fees and funneling the profits through a network of shell corporations.

Some shells were set up by Mazer's wife and mother, both of whom were arrested.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleged that Mazer and his subordinate, Scott Berger, signed off on dozens of bogus timesheets to inflate their take.

Yesterday the city also stopped payment to a pre-K school owned by Mazer's wife, Svetlana. This year, the city has paid the ABC Preschool in Woodside, Queens, $237,000.

On the radio show, Bloomberg claimed the city would recover the money stolen by insiders but admitted the scandal undermines public trust in government.

DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn "thinks we'll recover virtually all the money, but it certainly doesn't recover our reputation," Bloomberg said. "It reflects poorly on everybody."

As for how CityTime's original $63 million cost skyrocketed to $700 million, he blamed the unforeseen complexity of computerizing the city's multi-layered payrolls.

Friday, December 17, 2010

How Bad IS The CityTime Scandal?

CityTime ranks as one of the city’s biggest political scandals but falls short of those that plagued Mayor Koch during his third term, according to Baruch College political science professor Doug Muzzio, reports our Kate Lucadamo:

citytime logo.jpg

“It certainly doesn’t rank with the third-term Koch scandals,” he said, recalling the suicide of then-Queens Borough President Donald Manes after a massive kickbacks scheme.

“This administration seems no more corrupt than other administrations, and probably less so, but this was serious. This was a lot of money,” he said, noting the most damaging part of Bloomberg’s scandal was that it went on for years despite The Daily News and others shedding sunshine on the problems of CityTime.

Several City Council members and union leaders today said on the steps of City Hall that the CityTime mess is the best case for not outsourcing:

Councilwoman Letitia James (Brooklyn - WFP) said, “The fact that this complex scam took place under the radar of this administration is proof of just how out of control the greed has gotten and how some consultants continue to fleece the city of New York and taxpayers. It is time to stop using public funds to continue these poorly managed, poorly supervised private enterprises.”

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) chimed in, “I’m quite alarmed by the lack of scrutiny and attention that is being placed on the decisions that are being made by this administration when it comes to these private consultants that are hired.”

And Councilman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens) put it in a rhyme: “CityTime has seen its time and now it’s time for CityTime to go.”

Last but not least, Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) questioned why Bloomberg’s private empire has thrived while taxpayers were bilked for $80 million: “We need you to do what you said you could do, which is manage finances,” he said.

Bill Samuels: Pedro Espada Shouldn't Use Campaign Cash For Self-Defense

Bill Samuels, head of the New Roosevelt Initiative and onetime ponderer of a run for lieutenant governor, put a lot of effort into rallying the troops to get state Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr. out of office.


video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Now Espada's on his way out, but Samuels isn't done with him: He says the scandal-scarred Bronx pol shouldn't be able to use remaining campaign cash to fight his legal woes.

Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada, are accused of stealing more than $550,000 from Soundview Medical Center coffers to pay for boatloads of sushi, Broadway tickets and a downpayment on a Bentley and pony rides, among other things.

"He should either return the money to his contributors or donate the funds to a legitimate charity. It is the right and transparent thing to do," Samuels says.

“While we don’t know how much campaign cash Espada has on hand since he didn’t file mandatory disclosures following the election, we can safely assume that he’ll be using as much as $290,556.24 to fend off these criminal charges.” Samuels continued, “This loophole must be closed so that corrupt politicians, such as Espada who is well known for his campaign finance violations, can’t just skirt the law and use their ill-gotten gains to defend themselves.”

The Espadas have pleaded not guilty.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. and his son Pedro Gautier Espada were arraigned today in Federal Court in Brooklyn. Father and Son were indicted on five counts of embezzling $500,000. from the Soundview Health Care Center Network in The Bronx and one count of conspiracy that included using Soundview's Corporate Credit Card for personal expenses. Senator Espada, also is facing Civil Criminal Charges brought by Attorney General and now Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo for stealing $14 millions from the Soundview Health Care Center. Today, both father and son plead not guilty on the charges. Espada Jr.'s wife Connie Espada, and Pedro Gautier wife, each posted bail bonds for $750,000 for each of the defendant. The next Court Hearing will be on January 7th, 2011. See video bellow:

video by Rafael Martínez Alequín

Journalist Rafael Martínez Stood Up to Espada When Nobody Else Would and He is Still Getting Hurt

By Gary Tilzel

If there was any value left in the local Pulitzer or TV news Emmy awards, a journalist who most of his City Hall colleagues try to discredit and humiliate because they feel he is not worthy of their status, should win this year. Rafael Martínez Alequín, long a pariah among the City Hall press corps, did what his colleagues don’t bother to do anymore. He investigated Pedro
Espada - and in so doing, broke one of the biggest stories of the year. Because Martinez is a blogger his work has been ignored by the Main Street Media and the physical violence he received at the hands of Espada and his indicted son was covered up by the Bronx DA.

Martínez was attacked and threatened at a campaign rally, when he attempted to ask Espada a questions about his out of district residence and non profit medical heath care organization he funds with government money and uses as his personal piggy bank. Martinez’s was attacked by Espada son, his camera was broken and he was told that if he continued to investigate Espara he would be put in a body bag by those close to Espada. Yesterday Espada Was Charged With Stealing From a Health Network He Controlled (NYT) Not one word in today's articles about the indictment, about how journalist Rafael Martínez bravely stood up to Espada when nobody else would.

Shame on the NYP The Post takes some credit for taking Espada down.
Martínez was attacked because Espada’s knew he was doing the job of a real journalist and the so-called real journalists were of no danger to him. Espada knew that if you’re a member of the ruling political class, the mainstream media and DA's will protect you. Espada's plan worked until he joined Monserrate and held the state hostage for over a month with no government that the NYP called the circus.

It was only after Espada paralyzed state government that the real federal investigations began. All the information about Espada and his son looting the health care organization he funded and controlled was wildly known for years. It was not until the rich establishment of the city was embarrassed by the senate take over that they moved against Espada. They could care less about Martinez charges before the take over that Espada was ripping off health care funds to the residents of the Bronx.

The Bronx DA did all he could to get Espada son off the hook, when he prosecuted the attack on Martinez caught on video, as a minor pushing match where 75 year old reporter was knock to the floor, his camera broken and his life threatened at the campaign rally which was all on tape. Pedro son was plea bargained to paying Martinez $400 for the broken camera. No other charges.
Rafael Martínez also produced a video in which he interviewed several Bronx neighbors of State Senator Pedro Espada, who had never seen Espada in the building before. The excellent video, which shows Espada’s car parked later that night at his real home in Mamaroneck, proves outright that Senator Espada had never lived at the address he listed as his official State Senate residence. An old lady tenant even confronted Espada, who is was at the time second-in-line to be Governor, in an attempt to intimidate her, took a picture of her while Martinez was interviewing her. As a reward for his five-star video did Rafael make the front page of the dailies? On the contrary, not one of his City Hall colleagues or the old press talked about Martinez when they did stories about Espada' Mamaroneck home after the state senate takeover.

It is not only the press who is trying to marginalize Martínez. It took Norman Siegel defending Martinez to defeat the Mayor’s attempt to throw Martinez out of City Hall by not renewing his press pass, despite the fact that Martinez has covered City Hall for 30 years. Siegel’s lawsuit has already resulted in Martínez getting a new press pass, and is about to allow other bloggers the right to have a press pass. Martínez said a lot of the old media blame him for losing their parking permits, one of the outcomes of Martínez lawsuit. Some way to treat a bad guy who AG Cuomo called "The Most outrageous abuse of public office that I have ever seen. A Journalist Breaks Through City Hall's "Blue Wall of Silence"

More than Espada Take Credit for Ethics Laws they Ignore

Shortly before his indictment announcement, Espada released a self-congratulatory open letter to New Yorkers taking credit for “reform” in Albany. Pedro boasts of passing ethics laws that he ignored (NYP)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Outgoing Bronx state Sen. Pedro Espada and son indicted on six federal counts of embezzlement, theft

BY John Marzulli

Tuesday, December 14th 2010, 5:09 PM

State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr.
Simmons for News
State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr.

Disgraced Bronx pol Pedro Espada Jr. and his son lived high on the hog stealing taxpayer money, a federal indicatment charges.

The recently defeated State Senator and his son, Pedro G. Espada, were hit in Brooklyn federal court Tuesday with five counts of embezzling $500,000 in government funds and one count of conspiracy.

"Pedro Espada and his son spent years secretly siphoning money from healthcare clinics in order to fund Espada's lavish lifestyle," said Attorney General, and soon-to-be New York State governor Andrew Cuomo.

"Taxpayer funds meant for the sick and poor were instead used for Broadway shows, fancy meals, and other opulent personal expenses of Pedro Espada."

Espada is charged with billing over $100,000 to a corporate credit card for his Soundview Health Clinic for mind-boggling personal expenses, including $20,000 spent at a Mamaroneck sushi restaurant and $14,000 in tickets for shows like "Mamma Mia" and "Jersey Boys."

He also used funds from a related janitorial company to pay for pony rides and a petting zoo at a relatives birthday party, the feds say, and he tried to use $49,000 as a down payment for a Bentley.

The pol's son, Pedro G. Espada, 36, is charged with illegally rigging bidding processes to assure Soundview was given inflated contracts

The pair are expected to surrender to the FBI Wednesday morning and appear in Brooklyn federal court later in the day. If convicted, they face up to 55 years in prison.

The elder Espada,56, has long been dogged by charges of unethical use of money from Soundview - a government-funded HMO that he turned into a political machine.

Cuomo sued Espada and his son in civil court earlier this year for allegedly using $14 million in Soundview funds for personal and political purposes.

That suit sparked a federal investigation.

Following Cuomo's earlier lawsuit, Espada staunchly denied the charges, claiming they were politically motivated.

Espada angered much of the state Democratic party when he joined Republicans in a short-lived coup in the senate in 2009 that briefly upended Democratic rule.

In the fallout, Espada ended up as Senate majority leader.

The Bronx Democrat is set to leave office on Jan. 2 to be replaced by Gustavo Rivera, who soundly beat him at the polls in November.

The son, Pedro G. Espada, 36, a former State assemblyman, raised a storm of criticism in 2009 when he landed a $120,000-a-year Senate deputy job that was widely viewed as blatant political patronage.

He quit when the hiring made headlines.


Indictment: Nonprofit paid for ghostwriter, pony rides

5 comments Share3

Andrew Cuomo really is looking to wrap up business before he heads to the second floor: The governor-elect and the feds have indicted Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada for stealing from the Bronx health clinics he started and still operates.

Espada & Son were both charged with five counts of embezzlement and one count of conspiracy, carrying jail terms of 10 years apiece and five years, respectively.

Update: If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Mother of Mercy, what will it take to get the Senate Democrats to boot Pedro Espada Jr. from the post of majority leader?,” we now learn that the correct answer is “Get indicted by the U.S. Attorney.” The statement from Senate Democratic spokesman Austin Shafran:

“In light of Senator Pedro Espada’s indictment, he has been removed as Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Housing Committee effective immediately.”

UpdateX2: See the indictment below — thanks to the NYT for posting it to Scribd.

Perhaps the most delightful/horrifying portion of the indictment lists the alleged “overt acts” of Espada using funds from his healthcare nonprofits for, well, things such organizations don’t usually need. Such as:

  • Legal fees related to Espada’s violation of election laws
  • An after-school tutor for an unnamed relative
  • Air-conditioning repairs at his Mamaroneck (as opposed to the Bronx) home
  • A ghostwriter for a personal book project
  • Catering, videotaping, a petting zoo and pony rides (pony rides!) at a family member’s June 2006 birthday party

The cherry on top: The indictment states that in October 2006 Espada attempted to use a Soundview check for $46,000 as a downpayment for an auto at Bentley of Long Island, but the sale didn’t go through (wait for it) because (here it comes) “Espada’s financing application was rejected.” In the wake of that no doubt embarrassing episode, a few months later Espada used Soundview funds to pay a credit-repair service to improve his personal credit score.

Espada Indictment

The release from the AG’s office and the U.S. Attorney:

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo and United States Attorney Loretta E. Lynch today announced a six-count
federal indictment against Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. and
his son Pedro Gautier Espada (“Gautier”) for stealing in excess of
half a million dollars from Bronx clinics. This action is the result of
a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office, the United
State Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the
Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

The indictment charges that Espada and his son embezzled money from
Comprehensive Community Development Corporation (“Soundview”), a
federally-funded healthcare not-for-profit. The Espadas were charged
with five counts of embezzlement and one count of conspiracy. If
convicted, they face up to 10 years’ imprisonment on each of the
embezzlement counts and 5 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy, as well
as a fine of $250,000 on each count of conviction. The indictment is
being brought by the United State Attorney’s Office for the Eastern
District of New York

“As alleged, Pedro Espada and his son spent years secretly siphoning
money from healthcare clinics in order to fund Espada’s lavish
lifestyle,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Taxpayer funds meant for
the sick and poor were instead used for Broadway shows, fancy meals, and
other opulent personal expenses of Pedro Espada. Elected officials are
supposed to serve the people not themselves, and this indictment should
send a strong message: In New York, no one is above the law.”

“The indictment alleges that funds that could have been, and should
have been, applied to purchase medical equipment and hire personnel to
enhance health care services for an under-served population were
diverted by the defendants for their personal use and to benefit friends
and family members,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “In these
difficult economic times, the charged crimes are all the more

The indictment was sparked by Cuomo’s investigation into Espada’s
violations of the laws governing not-for-profits. Based on this
investigation, the Attorney General’s office referred a criminal
investigation to the United State Attorney’s Office for the Eastern
District of New York. Cuomo’s lead prosecutor was then designated a
Special Assistant United States Attorney to help run the investigation.
On April 21, 2010, the Attorney General’s office, the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service executed a search
warrant at Soundview’s offices and commenced a criminal investigation
into Espada’s misappropriation of Soundview’s funds for personal

Attorney General Cuomo thanked U.S. Attorney Lynch and her prosecutors
for all of their help, hard work and cooperation on this matter.


Today’s indictment by a federal grand jury charges that, since 2005,
Espada and his son knowingly and willfully conspired to steal and stole
money from Soundview, a network of health care clinics located in the
Bronx. This amount reflects monies that Espada and his son spent for
their personal gain but claimed as business expenses. The Espadas
allegedly diverted funds for their personal use and for the benefit of
family members and friends.

The various schemes allegedly executed by the Espadas include:

● Pedro Espada caused Soundview to pay charges for his personal
expenses through the Soundview corporate American Express card. Those
charges included more than $100,000 in personal meals for Pedro Espada
and his family members, window treatments for Pedro Espada’s home, and
tickets to Broadway shows and sporting events.

● Espada and Gautier used a for-profit janitorial company –
Community Expansion Development Corporation (“CEDC”) – to divert
funds from Soundview and then spent the funds on personal use and
political expenses, including the rent for Espada’s campaign
headquarters, campaign materials, pony rides and a petting zoo for a
family member’s birthday party, and a $49,000 check Espada attempted
to use as a down payment on a Bentley automobile.

● Espada and Gautier diverted rental payments owed to Soundview to
two different entities – CEDC and another for-profit janitorial
company known as Soundview Management Enterprises and used these funds
to pay personal expenses for themselves and family members.

● Gautier rigged the awarding of a Soundview janitorial services
contract by providing false contract requirements to other bidders,
ensuring that Soundview Management Enterprises was awarded the contract
at an inflated price, which enriched himself and Pedro 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

The investigation is ongoing. The charges against the defendants are
merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and
unless proven guilty.


In April 2010, Attorney General Cuomo filed a lawsuit filed against
Espada for diverting Soundview’s charitable assets and using the money
for himself, his family, his friends, and his political operation.
Nineteen current and former officers and directors of Soundview were
also named in the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that in the past five
years, Espada 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 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 Espada.

Also in April 2010, Attorney General Cuomo filed a separate lawsuit
against Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. and Gautier, for violating labor laws
by creating a sham job training program that cheated workers and
shortchanged State coffers. The lawsuit alleged that Senator Espada
created a personally owned, for-profit management company, Soundview
Management Enterprises LLC (Espada Management), as a vehicle to siphon
money from Soundview, the Bronx-based not-for-profit where Espada is
founder and CEO. The money flowed from Soundview to Espada Management,
run by Gautier, by means of a contractual arrangement that called for
Espada Management to supply janitors for the Soundview medical clinics.

These civil investigations into Senator Espada and Soundview are

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys
Colleen Kavanagh, Ilene Jaroslaw, and Todd Kaminsky, and Special
Assistant United States Attorney Mitra Hormozi.

The Online News Revolution From Informing to Spin, Copy and Trash

By Gary Tilzer

In the days before the Internet, TV and cable many New Yorkers received most of their news in the morning from newspapers like The Daily News, Post, Mirror, Journal American, Herald Tribune and World Telegram and PM.

Much of the news in Today's morning papers was available on the Internet from many sources, not just the paper that printed the story the day before, in many cases days before it came out in printed.

A second important trend on what New Yorkers read as news is the increasingly copy cat nature of the media. While much of what appears on morning local TV news has always been taken from the newspapers, it is clear that the stories online are become the main source for local TV news. Competition newspapers also use the online news stories not only for ideas and research, but an increasing feeling that if people are reading a story on the Internet, even if it is a competitor they must cover that story in their paper. On the national political level cable TV shows and bloggers are increasing doing stories about each other focusing less on hard news. “Very Pissed,” Fox's Neil Cavuto Rips MSNBC's Chris Matthews Over Calling Chris Christie “Fat”

Independent bloggers have increasingly been complaining that old media or mainstream journalist have rips off their stories without giving them credit. Cutbacks in the news media caused by the recession and loss of readers to the Internet has meant that less news is being covered by the mainstream media, especially on weekend, has caused them to use bloggers as Cliff notes. Shrinking Newspaper Coverage Means Less Real TV News, More Sexy Reporters

The final and most important result of new news delivery system is that during this transition period from newspapers to online journalism, the most important job of a free press, that of being a watchdog of the pols and government is failing. The failure is not only because of the move to online, it has a lot to do with the loss of mom pop owners of the newspapers and the fact that in the past copy boys become reporters after they learned journalism with the attitude of their owners that pols and rich were the bad guys. Today newsroom are filled reporter from very expensive Ivy League journalism school, high salaries and the owners of papers are big businessman who make their money by tapping onto the government's tit, mostly thought real estate and Wall Street Investments like pension funds. So over the last three decades newspaper owners have changed from and adversary relationship with government and pols to a partnership. Government Patronage Have Moved Away From the Individual to the Boardroom and Super Rich

Tom Robbins of the Village Voice wrote an excellent column last year about the results of the
change in journalism The unexamined world of Mike Bloomberg. Robins could have also written other similar columns about the unexamined slush fund at the City Council or the corruption in the city's pension funds or how Albany has become an organized crime enterprise.

British judge grants bail to Assange

Image: Julian Assange supporters hold a demonstration in London
Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, some wearing masks depicting him and holding placards participate at a demonstration outside the Swedish Embassy in central London on Monday. Assange remains in custody in the U.K. ahead of a Dec. 14 hearing where he plans to fight Sweden's request to extradite him to face sex crimes allegations there. Marianne Ny, named on poster, is the Swedish Director of Public Prosecution.
NBC, and news services NBC, and news services.

updated 15 minutes ago 2010-12-14T15:29:15
breaking news

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrested in Britain on Swedish allegations of sex crimes, was granted bail Thursday by a British judge.

Assange appeared in a packed central London courtroom on Tuesday to fight his extradition to Sweden in a sex-crimes investigation.

Assange supporters rallied in an effort to prove to the judge that the controversial activist would not flee the U.K. if granted bail.

Vaughn Smith, the director of the Frontline Club journalism organization which had been housing Assange before his arrest, offered the court assurances that the WikiLeaks founder could stay at his 10-bedroom estate, which he said is within one mile of a police station, NBC News' Peter Alexander tweeted from the courtroom.

Timeline: WikiLeaks timeline (on this page)

Smith and others also offered to put up money for bail, and Assange’s attorney Geoffrey Robertson said authorities could place an electronic tag on his client for tracking purposes, other reporters posting to Twitter from inside the courtroom said.

Assange, wearing a dark suit with a white shirt, appeared more ashen that he did at this last appearance, the reporters said.

The 39-year-old Australian was ordered to prison by a judge at a hearing Dec. 7 after surrendering himself to Scotland Yard to answer a Swedish arrest warrant.

Assange is wanted for questioning after two women accused him of sexual misconduct in separate encounters in Sweden over the summer. Lawyers for Assange say he denies the allegations and will contest the attempt to extradite him for questioning.

The disclosures, which have continued unaffected since Assange was detained in prison, have offended some U.S. allies and angered its rivals. Officials in Washington claim some other countries have already curtailed their dealings with the U.S. government as a result.

Earlier, Assange spoke from his prison cell to defend himself and attack the financial companies that suspended payments to his controversial website, Australian television reported Tuesday.

Assange told his mother that he remained committed to publishing some 250,000 pages of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, despite condemnation from Washington and elsewhere.

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Australia's Network Seven asked Christine Assange to ask her son one question during a visit to his London jail: Was it worth it?

"My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them," said Assange, according to his mother who supplied the network with a written statement of her son's answer.

"If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct."

'Illegal and immoral attacks'

In his statement from jail, Assange was also critical of the major finance companies who suspended payments to his WikiLeaks site, saying, "We now know that Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others are instruments of U.S. foreign policy. It's not something we knew before."

"I am calling for the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks," he said.

Some of Assange's supporters suspect the extradition request has been motivated by WikiLeaks' decision last month to begin publishing its trove of the secret U.S. diplomatic cables, something Swedish officials have denied.

The U.S. Justice Department has been looking into a range of criminal charges, including violations of the 1917 Espionage Act, that could be filed in the WikiLeaks case.

Assange and his lawyers have voiced fears that U.S. prosecutors may be preparing to indict him for espionage after WikiLeaks' publication of the cables.

Swedish charges

At an hour-long court hearing last week, lawyer Gemma Lindfield — acting for Swedish police — said Assange is accused of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion.

She told the court one woman had accused Assange of pinning her down and refusing to use a condom during an encounter on Aug. 14 in Stockholm. That woman also accused of Assange of molesting her in a way "designed to violate her sexual integrity" several days later.

A second woman has accused Assange of having sex with her without a condom while he was a guest at her Stockholm home and she was asleep.

In Sweden, a person who has sex with an unconscious, drunk or sleeping person can be convicted of rape and sentenced to up to six years in prison.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, arrested in Britain on Swedish allegations of sex crimes, was granted bail Thursday by a British judge. Full story

Assange's Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, claims the courts are stacked against defendants in sex cases in Sweden.

However, a 2009 European Commission-funded study found only 10 percent of sex offenses reported in Sweden result in a conviction.

Mayor Bloomberg: Red + Blue = Purple Tie = Unity. Get It?

So, okay, nobody's confusing The Daily Politics with GQ, but here's a word from our Adam Lisberg on Mayor Bloomberg's growing fondness for that sartorial symbol of the politics of the center: The purple necktie, and what he had to say to reporters about it this morning.

bloomberg purple tie.jpg

Q: Is there any symbolism to your wearing a purple tie a lot lately?

Bloomberg: "There is absolutely. Purple is made of two colors, red and blue. Red and blue seem to have some political significance. If you wanted nonpartisan redistricting, which is what I'm going to talk about today, which I think is, would be a very good thing for America, certainly for New York state, and I've always been a fan of nonpartisan elections as you know, it's a good chance to say, you know, a third of the people aren't in either of the two major parties, and they deserve representation as well. But it just, there were two or three events together. They got me to keep the tie out. I didn't have to put it back on the shelf. But this probably will be the last day."

Just to quell (once again -- I should really have a hotkey for this) any speculation that Hizzoner wants to wear that tie in the Oval Office...

Q: are you willing to make the Shermanesque statement [that] if nominated you will not run, if elected you will not serve?

Bloomberg: "I am not running for president. I have no intention of running for president. Period. End of story."

'Course, Bloomberg had no intention of running for a third term, either, but that's another story...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Nigeria Files Charges Against Cheney in Halliburton Bribery Scheme

Tuesday 07 December 2010

by: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report

Nigeria Files Charges Against Cheney in Halliburton Bribery Scheme
Dick Cheney. (Photo: Jean-Bernard Sieber / World Economic Forum)

Dick Cheney is officially a wanted man.

The former vice president was charged by Nigerian officials Tuesday along with eight other individuals in a bribery and conspiracy scheme over the construction of a liquefied natural gas facility in the country that took place while Cheney was chief executive of Halliburton.

Halliburton and its one-time subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR), were also charged. KBR, which also has handled lucrative US government support contracts for US troops in Iraq and elsewhere, was spun off from Halliburton in 2007 into a separate company.

"It includes Dick Cheney," said Nigerian prosecutor Godwin Obla, about the 16-count charge filed in Abuja, Nigeria's capital. "There are conspiracy charges and giving gratification to public officers. There is also a charge for obstruction of justice...It is important to stress that the filing of this charge today is just one out of many steps that would be taken by the prosecution."

"The illicit proceeds of that enterprise would be located. Properties acquired in consequence of this would be traced and forfeited and organizations associated with the criminal enterprise may be liable to forfeiture to the state of Nigeria," Obla added.

Although Nigerian government officials said they would seek Cheney's extradition to respond to the charges, it's all but guaranteed the US government won't entertain such a request.

Cheney's lawyer, Terrence O'Donnell, said an investigation conducted by federal prosecutors in the United States "found no suggestion of any impropriety by Dick Cheney in his role of CEO of Halliburton."

"Any suggestion of misconduct on his part, made now, years later, is entirely baseless," O'Donnell said.

Tara Mullee, a Halliburton spokeswoman said, “It is still our position that Halliburton was not involved in the project to which this bribery investigation relates and there is no legal basis for charges."

The charges revolve around $180 million in bribes allegedly paid to Nigerian government officials between 1994 and 2004 to win a $6 billion construction contract for the Bonny Island natural gas liquefaction plant. The bribes allegedly went to the notoriously corrupt Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and some of his subordinates.

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The cash allegedly was laundered through UK lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, who served as a consultant to KBR after it was formed in a 1998 merger that Cheney engineered between Halliburton and Dresser Industries. Tesler was hired in 1995 as an agent of a four-company joint venture that was awarded four engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts by Nigeria LNG Ltd., (NLNG). Tesler was indicted last year and he is fighting extradition to the US.

The charges against Cheney and others come as Nigeria prepares for a presidential election in April. Anti-corruption officials last week raided Halliburton's Lagos offices and arrested 23 people, including 10 who worked for the company, and seized documents. Those arrested have since been released.

On Monday, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced that Tesler's associate, Wojciech J. Chodan, the former vice president to KBR's UK subsidiary, pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for his role in the bribery scandal.

Chodan was extradited to the United States last week from England. He is scheduled to be sentenced in February and faces a maximum five years in federal prison.

French Disclosures

The bribery investigation was launched in 2003 when Georges Krammer, a former executive with the French company Technip (also charged Tuesday), a member of the consortium for the Bonny Island project, informed French magistrate Renaud Van Ruymbeke that the contracts his group obtained came as a result of payments Tesler made to Nigerian officials from a slush fund the lawyer allegedly managed.

In June, the DOJ, which had also been investigating the bribery scheme, filed a deferred prosecution agreement and criminal information against Technip. The company, also charged in the bribery scheme in Nigeria Tuesday, agreed to pay $240 million in criminal fines and retain an independent compliance monitor for two years.

For more than a year, the magistrate poured over evidence to determine whether Cheney may have been responsible under French law for at least one of four bribery payments to the Nigerian officials.

Under French law, "the head of a company can be charged with 'misuse of corporate assets' for bribes paid by any employee - even if the executive didn't know about the improper payments." Authorities in the UK and Switzerland were also investigating the matter.

During Cheney's tenure, Halliburton did expand operations in Nigeria despite human rights abuses by General Abacha's regime and environmental damage to the Niger Delta caused by international oil companies, Shell and Chevron, both of which signed contracts with Halliburton subsidiaries.

In April 2000, Brown & Root Energy Services, a business unit of Halliburton, was selected by Shell Petroleum Development Co. of Nigeria to work on the development of an offshore oil and gas facility, the first of its kind for Shell.

The deal, valued at $300 million, has been questioned by activists who have tried to hold Shell accountable for the pollution and the human rights abuses that have harmed Nigerian indigenous groups in a part of the Niger Delta known as Ogoniland.

In its four-plus decades of oil exploration in Nigeria, Shell has been responsible for repeated environmental calamities, involving oil spills, noxious gas flares, cleared forests, despoiled farmland and pipeline blowouts.

General Abacha's appreciation for the money that Shell's operations put into his coffers made him an eager ally when the oil industry faced popular protests, which were crushed by the dictator's army and security forces.

In 1995, the year Cheney joined Halliburton, renowned writer and environmental advocate Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight of his colleagues were hanged by the Abacha government for their efforts to prevent Shell from continuing to poison the environment of the Niger Delta.

It is estimated that more than 2,000 people have been murdered for their involvement in protests against Shell's activities in the Delta. Most of those murdered were Ogoni who had rallied behind Saro-Wiwa in the early 1990s.

In 1998, General Abacha died of an apparent heart attack.

Lengthy Federal Probe

In its quarterly filing to the SEC in April 2008, Halliburton said the DOJ "has evidence of payments to Nigerian officials by another agent in connection with a separate KBR-managed project in Nigeria called the Shell EA project."

The footnote's reference to Shell was the first time the petroleum giant was linked to the bribery suspicions.

In a quarterly filing in October 2007, Halliburton said it was subpoenaed by the DOJ and the SEC over the use - by the KBR-led consortium known as TSKJ - "of an immigration services provider, apparently managed by a Nigerian immigration official, to which approximately $1.8 million in payments in excess of costs of visas were allegedly made between approximately 1997 and the termination of the provider in December 2004 and our 2007 reporting of this matter to the government."

The TSKJ consortium was also charged Tuesday.

Halliburton's April 25, 2008 filing marked the first time that specific evidence was cited to support claims that Halliburton bribed Nigerian officials while Cheney headed the company.

Guilty Pleas

Last year, KBR pleaded guilty to violating FCPA and admitted that it paid $180 million in "consulting fees" to Tesler and a Japanese trading company for use in bribing the Nigerian government officials. KBR paid a $402 million fine as part of its plea deal.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, KBR agreed to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years to ensure it is abiding by US laws, limit its use of foreign agents and promised to file regular reports on the compliance program with the DOJ.

KBR said in a 10-K filing with the SEC last year, however, that "limitations on our use of agents as part of our efforts to comply with applicable laws, including the FCPA, could put us at a competitive disadvantage in pursuing large-scale international projects."

"Most of our large-scale international projects are pursued and executed using one or more agents to assist in understanding customer needs, local content requirements, and vendor selection criteria and processes and in communicating information from us regarding our services and pricing," the company said in its quarterly filing, which was first reported by, an investigative business news web site whose reporters dig through SEC filings and pull out important nuggets of information.

"As a result of our settlement of the FCPA matters ... a monitor will be appointed to review future practices for compliance with the FCPA, including with respect to the retention of agents. Our compliance procedures and our requirement to have a monitor may result in a more limited use of agents on large-scale international projects than in the past. Accordingly, we could be at a competitive disadvantage in successfully being awarded such future projects, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to win contracts and our future revenue and business prospects."

But did not impact KBR’s ability to secure lucrative government contracts.

In fact, according to KBR's SEC filing last year, the company said said it received written notification from the US. Department of the Army “stating that it does not intend to suspend or debar KBR from [Department of Defense] contracting as a result of the guilty plea by KBR LLC.”

Additionally, KBR revealed in the same SEC filing that the company uncovered "information" that shows former executives may have been involved in a bidding scheme with its competitors, but that the DOJ agreed not to pursue the matter in exchange for KBR's guilty plea.

"In connection with the investigation into payments relating to the Bonny Island project in Nigeria, information has been uncovered suggesting that [former KBR Chief Executive Albert "Jack"] Stanley and other former employees may have engaged in coordinated bidding with one or more competitors on certain foreign construction projects, and that such coordination possibly began as early as the mid-1980s," KBR said in its SEC filing. "In connection with KBR LLC's agreeing to enter into the plea agreement described above, the DOJ has agreed not to pursue any further investigation or penalties relating to the coordinated bidding allegations."

According to the DOJ, at critical junctures before the EPC contracts were awarded, Stanley and others allegedly met with three successive former holders of a top-level office in the executive branch of the Nigerian government to ask the office holder to designate a representative with whom the joint venture should negotiate the bribes.

In September 2008, Stanley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and conspiring to violate FCPA.

Stanley was a close associate of Cheney, who promoted him in 1998 to head KBR. Stanley faces seven years in prison and nearly $11 million in restitution payments. He remains free on bail pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for January.

According to last year's plea deal, Stanley started paying bribes beginning in 1995, the year Cheney was named chief executive of the corporation, and ended when Stanley was fired in 2004.

Stanley, KBR's current CEO William Utt and Halliburton CEO David Lesar, were also named in the indictment filed by Nigerian officials Tuesday.

Aggressive Accounting Practices

Although Cheney's five-year tenure at the helm of Halliburton made him a rich man, controversies surrounding the Houston-based company have dogged him since he became vice president.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Halliburton agreed to a $7.5 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over suspect accounting practices that took place during Cheney's affiliation with the company.

The SEC said Halliburton changed the way it accounted for construction revenues in 1998 and did not report that change to investors for more than a year, a violation of securities rules.

The accounting sleight of hand by Halliburton caused the company's public statements regarding its income in 1998 and 1999 to be materially misleading, boosting Halliburton's paper profits by $120 million.

"In the absence of any disclosure, the investing public was deprived of a full opportunity to assess Halliburton's reported income more particularly, the precise nature of that income, and its comparability to Halliburton's income in prior periods," the SEC said.

The changes to the company's accounting practices led to a "significant difference in their respective effects on Halliburton's financial presentation: the new practice reduced losses on several large construction projects" and allowed the company to report a higher profit, the SEC said.

The accounting practices, which gave Wall Street the false impression that the oil-field services company was profitable between 1998 and 1999, boosted the value of Halliburton's stock and helped Cheney earn more than $35 million when he sold his shares in 2000.

The New York Times quoted two former Dresser Industries executives in a May 22, 2002, story as saying that after Cheney guided the merger of Dresser with Halliburton in 1998, Halliburton "instituted aggressive accounting practices to obscure its losses."

The accounting change altered the way Halliburton booked revenues from cost overruns on construction projects. Previously, the company waited until a figure was agreed upon with a client. After 1998, however, Halliburton booked revenues that it assumed a customer would pay even though the agreed-upon number might turn out to be lower.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said at the time that Cheney "was aware we accrued revenue on unapproved claims in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles."

The gimmick, signed off on by the now-defunct accounting firm Arthur Andersen, allowed Halliburton to add $89 million in revenues to its books in 1998, helping the company beat its earnings target by 2 cents a share for the year and boosting its stock value.

If the accounting change hadn't been employed, said Wall Street analysts, the company would have missed its earnings target by 11 cents a share, which would surely have depressed the stock price.

During Cheney's tenure, accounting irregularities at the company exceeded $234 million, according to documents obtained by the watchdog group Center for Public Integrity.

Halliburton also faced allegations that it overbilled for work at Fort Ord in California under Cheney's watch, a complaint similar to more recent charges that Halliburton padded its military contract work in Iraq.

Following revelations that Cheney made $35 million from his sales of Halliburton stock before the company's share price fell on the announcement in 2000 that the company was being investigated, The Washington Post, on July 16, 2002, summed up Cheney's tenure at Halliburton this way:

The developments at Halliburton since Cheney's departure leave two possibilities: Either the vice president did not know of the magnitude of problems at the oilfield services company he ran for five years, or he sold his shares in August 2000 knowing the company was likely headed for a fall.

As Halliburton's CEO, Cheney was responsible for Halliburton's books. He went out of his way to praise the work done for Halliburton by Arthur Andersen, the accounting firm that unraveled in 2002 after it was found guilty of obstruction of justice for destroying documents for another energy-related client, Enron.

In a 1996 promotional video for Arthur Andersen, Cheney lauded the firm for its business advice:

One of the things I like that they do for us is that, in effect, I get good advice, if you will, from their people based upon how we're doing business and how we're operating, over and above the, just sort of the normal by-the-books audit arrangement.

The SEC questioned Cheney during its two-year-long probe of Halliburton's accounting irregularities and concluded that he should not be held responsible for what went on behind the scenes at the company.

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