Pedro G. Espada's short reign as the new "deputy director of intergovernmental affairs" came to an end yesterday, when his dad, Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. said his son would resign the $120,000 position. The senior Espada told the Daily News, "We don't want to get off to this kind of start and certainly my son does not want it for himself... To remove any suggestion that this was a result of my influence, rather than him earning his way on to the position, he will withdraw. It's a new day in the Senate, new leadership, reforms are in place. My son never sought this. He had a better paying job, but he wanted to come back into public service."
The hubbub started when New York found out that Pedro G. Espada was installed in the newly created, six-figure job, immediately raising question about whether his dad had anything to do with it. While the Majority Leader said that Pedro G. "was hired by the Senate—not by me—on his own merits, qualifications, experience and background as a former public servant and successful entrepreneur," however, unnamed sources have been suggesting that he did try to hire his son.
The NY Times reports that, according to an unnamed Senate official, "Senator Espada had first sought to hire his son for his own staff before being told that would be illegal. The central staff job, the official said, was created as an alternative, in the belief that it would not run afoul of the anti-nepotism law." Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is reportedly investigating; an unnamed source "close to Cuomo" asks the Post, "Does anyone believe that the Senate Democrats hired Espada's son without any input, direct or indirect, from his father the senator? And if there was input, the law may well have been broken."
Oh, and about Pedro G.'s "better paying job"—he was working for Soundview HealthCare Network, the non-profit his dad founded... the same non-profit that paid his dad over $400,000 in 2007. Lately, the senior Espada told the Times that "he has taken a pay cut to the 'low 200,000s' because he is no longer working in his health care centers '100 percent.'" Before he was Senate Majority Leader, the state pulled $3 million directed towards Soundview because Espada misrepresented the organization's "chronic tax delinquency." Don't worry—Espada still got $2 million in other pork.