Some Bronx residents who've signed petitions supporting an opponent of powerful Bronxchester Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. say they're receiving intimidating letters from Espada's campaign office. In bold-face capital letters, the missives read "NOTICE OF LEGAL INFORMATION WARNING" and inform the recipient that he/she has been identified "as a person who has signed a legal document known as a petition. Receipt of this letter is NOT an indication that you have done anything wrong. However, there is reason to believe that your signature has been obtained against the law." Hmm, is the subtext: "You're about to be deported!!!!"

A spokesman for one of Espada's challengers, Gustavo Rivera, tells City Room, "This letter is an intimidation tactic of people who simply showed their support for Gustavo Rivera. Disappointed is not a strong enough word. This is clearly an act of desperation by someone who knows they can’t win on Sept. 14th." The letter urges recipients to call "the Ballot Integrity Unit" and is signed by the "Concerned Citizens for Good Government." (They're having a pizza party tonight!) But in small type at the bottom of the page, it says "Paid for by New Yorkers for Espada" (i.e., taxpayers).

Rivera has also heard that individuals, described as large and "thuggish", have been going to the homes of petition signers to ask prying questions about their petition signatures for Gustavo Rivera. At a press event yesterday, Espada refused to answer questions about the charges of intimidation, but later sent out a press release claiming he was "victimized by goons" and vowing, "I will not be intimidated." And why should Espada be intimidated, when he's got $323,000 on hand to spend on his campaign, compared with Rivera's puny $38,000? Heck, Espada's got so much money lying he's literally throwing it at protesters.