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State may revoke ex-pol's Medicaid license

The Associated Press

ALBANY -- The state will seek to revoke the Medicaid license of a Bronx health care facility being run by a former state senator accused of plundering it to fund a lavish lifestyle, an official familiar with the case said Tuesday.

State officials accuse the Soundview clinic of having no "compliance program" that verifies claims to make sure the costs are appropriate, and not filing 2008 and 2009 federal tax forms, a state official told The Associated Press.

By late Tuesday, the state still hadn't acted.

That rankled former Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., the former Democratic senator who founded and still runs Soundview. He is awaiting a fall trial on charges that he misappropriated government funding to support a lavish lifestyle for himself and his family.

Espada told The Associated Press in an interview that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who began the probe as attorney general in 2010, is trying to poison the jury pool as part of a political vendetta.

Espada said stories first appearing in the New York Post hurt Soundview's relationships with physicians and patients. He said the health clinic, where he continues to draw a $225,000 salary and which operates on a $14 million annual budget, shouldn't be caught in his political fight because 200 workers could lose their jobs and 20,000 patients could lose their clinic.

Soundview's board, which includes Espada's relatives, has kept Espada and his son, Pedro G. Espada, on the payroll since the indictment. Pedro Espada Jr. said they are not paid through Medicaid funds, but from collections from private insurance companies. Pedro G. Espada makes about $100,000 a year.

The investigation by the state Medicaid inspector general's office began in April and has included subpoenas, depositions and the seizing of documents from Soundview, the official said. If approved, the action against the Soundview clinic could close the facility in one of the poorest parts of the state.

State & Region