Friday, December 17, 2010

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.

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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.

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