Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ex-Sen. Pedro Espada's Defense: My Accountants Said That Petting Zoo Was Totally Fine

Ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. has finally revealed his defense on charges he treated a taxpayer-funded clinic as a personal piggy bank: The accountants let him do it.

espada talking.jpgOur John Marzulli reports:

Espada claims expenses charged to a janitorial company the feds say he controlled - including pony rides and a petting zoo for a family member's birthday party, home repairs and a down payment on a Bentley - were all approved by accountants.

Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada, are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 17 in Brooklyn Federal Court on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion.

The indictment alleges that from 2004 through 2009, Espada and his son used the for-profit janitorial firm, Community Expansion Development Corp., to divert cash from Soundview Health Network to fund their lavish lifestyles.

Defense lawyer Susan Necheles has subpoenaed records from bean counters at McGladrey & Pullen to show that Espada's expenditures "were reviewed by and approved by the accountants and were customary business expenses, not thefts," according to court papers.

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