Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

The AP's Michael Virtanen in Albany has moved a story saying that Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has found “extensive evidence of potential violations” of state law by State Sen. Pedro Espada's Bronx health clinic and various officers and directors.

Here's the the full story:

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has found “extensive evidence of potential
violations” of state law by a state senator’s Bronx health clinic and
various officers and directors, according to court documents filed by his
office.

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Cuomo subpoenaed records in an investigation of state grants provided
to the Soundview Health Care Network, a Bronx clinic for the poor
founded by Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada.
 

A document filed Wednesday, in support of a proposed court order to
force Soundview to answer the subpoena, says the nine-month probe
shows apparent violations of New York’s not-for-profit corporation law,
including using money at a for-profit affiliate that benefited Espada
personally.
 

 According to Mitra Hormozi, Cuomo’s deputy chief of staff,
investigators also found apparent labor law violations by affiliate
Espada Management Co. It was formed in 2007 and receives almost
$400,000 a year to provide Soundview maintenance, though the
janitorial labor costs are about half that figure. The company paid some
of the Bronx Democrat’s campaign finance expenses, which was not
reported, and may be liable for election law violations or fraud, she
wrote.


 “Espada Management Company has refused to comply in any
meaningful way with OAG’s subpoena, thereby necessitating this motion
to compel,” Hormozi wrote. She acknowledged receiving two documents
since September, showing some management fees and employee costs.

 Espada’s office had no immediate comment Wednesday. Espada is
president of Soundview.
 

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The attorney general said the investigation also involves possible
violations by the organization’s directors and officers of their fiduciary
obligations.
 

Espada said last week he would provide any documents asked of him
in the probe and he denied any wrongdoing in running the clinic and in
his job as a lawmaker who can help direct state grants.
 

 “It concerns me that anyone would want to play politics with this issue
that is serious,” Espada said. “I take ethics measures seriously.”


According to the attorney general, Soundview switched its contract for
janitorial services from an in-house entity to Espada Management Co.,
technically an outside contractor wholly owned by Espada, though it
shares Soundview space, doesn’t pay rent and gets its supplies from the
tax-exempt charitable organization.

After the change, the cost of janitorial services rose by about $130,000 a
year, according to Cuomo’s office. Also, the new custodian company has
been collecting rents or usage fees from a pharmacy and entities such as
Weight Watchers that use Soundview facilities for meetings.