It's been a while since we've heard from that colorful corrupt clown Pedro Espada, Jr., who was ousted by voters in 2010 amidst allegations that he embezzled more than half a million dollars from the Bronx nonprofit health care network he runs with his son. Yesterday, at last, the drought ended outside the former State Senator's Soundview Clinic, where Espada responded to reports that the state might revoke the clinic's license. This being Espada, the press conference took on operatic tones, with subtle notes of castration and sinister violation.
Wasting no time, Espada took dead aim on his longtime nemesis Andrew Cuomo, who, as Attorney General, spearheaded the investigation into Espada's shady management of Soundview. According to Espada, Cuomo is consumed with a "personal obsession to take on and dominate my world and my manhood. He is as attorney general the prosecutor and accuser; as a governor he wants to be judge and jury."
The Post reports that Espada specifically accused Cuomo of prejudicing jurors in his upcoming criminal trial by publicly threatening state action that could shut down Soundview. Directly addressing an invisible Cuomo, Espada thundered, "You want to pollute the jury pool! You are not going to penetrate this fortress. You are not going to penetrate my honor." According to CBS 2, Espada added, "You are not going to penetrate my arms because I am fully supported by God, by the people of this community and by the court system."
The state Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and state officials say they are planning on banning Soundview Health clinics from receiving Medicaid funds. Espada and his son, Pedro G., have already been explicitly prohibited from taking Medicaid funds themselves, but they've continued to run the clinics even though they're under indictment.
Actions to close the clinics could begin as early as next week, and though Espada framed the situation in personal terms, the real victims would most likely be the low-income Bronx residents who depend on the clinics, however mismanaged they may be. Evelyn Cruz, a 54-year-old woman who lives four blocks from Soundview, tells the Wall Street Journal she relies on the clinic to treat her depression and other ailments. "We don't want them to close the clinic," she said. "This is the first choice for me. Right now I am really depressed and I don't where else I would go."