Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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)

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