Thursday, April 5, 2012

Espada Soundview appointee was member of The Crystals

Admitted she knew nothing about finance

Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2012, 10:05 PM

Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News

Beverly Crosby, who says she was once a member of the 1960s girl group The Crystals, was appointed to Pedro Espada's Soundview board.

SHE SANG “He’s a Rebel” with the all-girl pop group The Crystals, and that’s all ex-state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. needed to hear.

Beverly Crosby testified Thursday in Brooklyn Federal Court how Espada appointed her to the board of his Soundview health clinic because her husband knew him, her friend was also on the board — and she had a voice.

“Music,” she answered when defense lawyer Susan Necheles asked what talent she brought to the board. “I teach music to children and senior citizens.”

Crosby said she had no background in finance, but excitedly explained how she sang with The Crystals on some of their biggest hits, including “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “Uptown.”

The singer said she didn’t know Espada had also stacked the Bronx board with his family members, including two uncles and his son’s wife.

“No one gave that information to the board,” she told Assistant Brooklyn U.S. Roger Burlingame.

Burlingame also got Crosby to acknowledge she didn’t know the Espadas were taking Soundview’s money to pay for meals for himself and family members, or pocketing rent money from subtenants at the clinic.

Prosecutors say the board’s family ties and its clueless members allowed Espada to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit.

When asked about her duties on the nonpaid board gig, Crosby’s memory failed her.

She didn’t know the state attorney general’s office had named her as a defendant in a lawsuit against the board for failing to carry out their duties.

She didn’t remember much about the seminar she attended to learn how to be a good board member. Crosby also had no recollection of the board hiring a compensation expert who concluded Espada was “seriously undercompensated” as president of the clinic.

Burlingame pressed Crosby about a 2007 board meeting held at a Christmas party at the fancy Queens restaurant Water’s Edge, in which they approved the sale of Espada’s cleaning company to the clinic for $400,000.

The transaction is part of a bid-rigging charge accusing Espada and his son of lying to the other bidders about the job specifications in order to falsely drive up the price of the contract.

Crosby admitted that she did not know that Espada pocketed over $110,000 from the sale.

“The money should go back into Soundview,” she said.

The singer later fled the courtroom in tears after the prosecutor repeatedly questioned her about her record on the board.

Crosby was not one of the original four who worked with famed music mogul Phil Spector. When asked outside court to clarify whether she was a backup singer with the The Crystals, she snapped, “I was a member of The Crystals.”

According to her website, Crosby is a member of the usic Makers Hall of Fame in Pensacola, Fla.

Espada told the Daily News that he did not know Crosby when she was a Crystal, but met her sometime in the 1980s when she sang at a theater on Intervale Ave.

“My wife knows the words to ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’ by heart,” he said.

jmarzulli@nydailynews.com

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