On Tuesday, when "Bronxchester" Senator Pedro Espada, Jr. got caught blocking a fire hydrant with an illegal police parking placard, we took the opportunity to wonder what the hell was happening with the long-simmering investigation into how Espada runs his non-profit. Well, we don't want to take all the credit, but on the very next day Attorney General Andrew Cuomo finally subpoenaed Espada—after launching the investigation nine months ago. Good probes take time? Naturally Espada says this is just a political attack.
"I am not going to be someone’s political piñata here," Espada told the Times yesterday, while suggesting Cuomo was just trying to upstage Governor Paterson as he prepares to challenge him in the Democratic primary. Cuomo's probe, conducted in cooperation with the Bronx DA, is investigating, among other things, whether Espada illegally used a nonprofit group he controls—Soundview Health Clinic—to promote his political campaigns. Last year the State Department of Health froze a $3 million grant to Soundview, amid questions over whether Espada and Soundview employees had lied in applying for it.
There's also the question of whether Espada actually lives within the Bronx district he represents (as required by law) or just owns property there while spending most of his time in his tony Mamaroneck mansion. The subpoena seeks all communications between Espada or his staff and any agency or authority relating to allocations or expenditures. Cuomo also wants all records of Espada’s official travel, lodging and per diem expenses, which may shed light on his residency status. "It's a kitchen sink kind of thing," one source tells the Daily News.