Espada Calls Cuomo's New Charges Baseless

Thursday, April 29, 2010

New York State Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr. has said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's second civil law suit targeting Espada, Jr.'s business dealings is nothing but political assassination by installments.

Cuomo's second suit against Espada, Jr. alleges that the Senator created a phony internship program to save on labor costs for maintaining his network of South Bronx health care clinics. The attorney general's office has accused Espada of paying aspiring janitors as little as $1.70 an hour.

"You just can't call a program an internship program to circumvent the labor laws and tax laws," Cuomo said. New York State minimum wage is $7.25.

Espada, Jr. called Cuomo's charges baseless and said his job training program was legitimate. The Senator also said Cuomo was on a self-serving witch hunt targeting his non-profit, Soundview Health Center, which serves poor residents of the South Bronx.

"I have a personal agenda," Cuomo said. "He is correct. I am personally the Attorney General of the State of New York. I am personally sworn to uphold the laws of the state of New York."

Earlier this month, Cuomo filed a civil suit alleging that Espada had bilked millions from Soundview. That suit was followed by a joint federal and state criminal probe. Senator Espada, Jr. claims the suits are payback for his role in briefly flipping majority power back to the Republicans last year.

For more WNYC coverage on this story, click here and here.

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