Pedro Espada Jr. walks out of Brooklyn Federal Court House...

Pedro Espada Jr. walks out of Brooklyn Federal Court House in Brooklyn. (May 14, 2012) Credit: Jason Andrew

It's official: Former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is a crook. The Bronx Democrat was convicted by a federal jury in Brooklyn on Monday of looting his nonprofit health care organization.

Unfortunately, the jury's confirmation of his misdeeds hardly comes as a shock. Allegations have swirled around Espada for years, and members of the legislature are convicted (or at least accused) often enough that one more lawmaker facing the prospect of time behind bars will elicit yawns in some quarters.

Espada was one of a quartet of New York City Democrats who, in 2009, deprived their party of a Senate majority by flirting with Republicans to exploit their leverage for all it was worth -- bringing Albany to a standstill.

This month another of the four, Hiram Monserrate, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and conspiracy, having already been thrown out of the Senate after being convicted of assault in a case involving domestic violence. In April yet another quartet member, Carl Kruger, was sentenced to seven years on charges arising from a bribery scheme. The last of the foursome, state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., remains in office. His former campaign treasurer is accused of embezzling from a charity.

We can only hope law enforcement agencies keep digging into wrongdoing by New York lawmakers -- and that the state's new Joint Commission on Public Ethics can help.

The agency reportedly has begun a preliminary inquiry into the dealings of Sen. Tom Libous (R-Binghamton). If the commission proves itself vigorous, perhaps it can scare some lawmakers straight.