This verdict was hailed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had battled Mr. Espada since even before he was sworn in as governor.
“As Attorney General, I brought an action against Pedro Espada for siphoning millions of dollars from a taxpayer funded not-for-profit and using the money to support a lavish lifestyle for himself, his family, and his friends, as well as for supporting his political operation,” he said. “Mr. Espada was the prime example of government corruption.”
Back in 2010,then attorney general Cuomo charged Mr. Espada with looting $14 million from his Soundview Health Clinics.
“It is outrageous,” Mr. Cuomo told reporters at the time, referring Mr. Espada’s $9 million severance package and the $20,000 he spent on home sushi deliveries. “I have not seen anything on this scale.”
Mr. Espada meanwhile liked to respond (sort of) in kind, calling Mr. Cuomo “the prince of darkness” and accusing the governor of wanting to strip Mr. Espada of his manhood.
“Those who would abuse the public trust have a pointed lesson in the downfall of former Senator Espada,” Mr. Cuomo said. “My comments at the time I filed the original charges bear repeating: in New York, we will have no tolerance for government corruption. As Attorney General and as Governor, I have fought to bring performance, integrity and pride back to what was, at one time, the best state government in the nation. We are making progress.Mr. Espada has made many accusations and comments about me since my actions began. Today the jury spoke loud and clear making Mr. Espada a convicted felon.”
Outside of Ruben Diaz, one will find few in Albany with warm memories of Mr. Espada, not after he threw state government into chaos by suddenly mounting a Senate coup in 2009 and caucusing with the Republicans for several weeks. The standoff was only settled when Mr. Espada returned to the Democratic fold in return for a leadership post.