Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Espada Family Car Caper

New York State Senator Pedro Espada is many things, but environmentalist can't be counted as one of them. Even his son, Pedro G. Espada, who fancies himself as "director of environmental care" for his father's "nonprofit" health care entity, Soundview Health Center, isn't an environmentalist, not when he's busy buying up gas guzzlers to add to the Center's roster of cars.
The CCDC, which runs five Soundview Health Center clinics for the needy, has bought a series of upscale gas-guzzlers, including a Cadillac Deville, a GMC Envoy SUV and luxury Chrysler 300C -- periodically replacing them with newer vehicles, records show.

Pedro G., 35, who makes an estimated $90,000 a year as the charity's "director of environmental care," had three of his own vehicles parked at the clinics last week: a black 2006 BMW, a white Ford van and a white 2007 Yukon Denali XL, which had a $50,000 base price.

But he isn't the only Soundview staffer getting a sweet ride.

Sen. Espada (D-Bronx) himself uses a luxury car paid for with his charity's money and allows the use of other cars by top employees, including his daughter-in-law and a woman convicted of committing fraud for one of his campaigns.

At Soundview headquarters on White Plains Road, Sen. Espada, who collects nearly $460,000 a year in salary and benefits as the charity's CEO, got into a 2008 Chrysler 300C sedan driven by someone who picked him up. The car is registered to the charity.

Spokesman Fear said, "No Soundview employee is paid to act as a chauffeur." He did not say whether the CCDC paid for outside drivers.
Cars bought by Sen. Espada, including a gas guzzling Ford Expedition, were turned around and "sold" to Soundview and at a price that doesn't quite match anything found in Kelly Blue Book. It makes little sense why Soundview would need that kind of car in any event, but given the way that the Espadas treat this "nonprofit" as a personal profit center, it's little wonder that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is looking into irregularities.

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