NEW YORK, NY - Federal authorities raided a government-funded clinic run by thestate Senate's majority leader, one day after New York's attorneygeneral accused him of siphoning money from it.
About a dozen FBI and IRS agents appeared Wednesday at theSoundview Healthcare Network in the Bronx, where a big canopy abovethe front door lists Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. as its president andCEO.
The agents removed Espada campaign posters and other items froman 8-foot-tall, 25-foot-long storage container behind the building.They also stacked boxes on the grass, and agents wearing blue orgreen gloves leafed through the contents and wrote notes.
Espada spokesman Steve Mangione didn't immediately respond torequests for comment left on his cell phone and through e-mail. FBIspokesman Jim Margolin said only that the search was part of anongoing investigation.
On Tuesday, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced a lawsuitaccusing Espada of siphoning $14 million from the clinic. It saidthe money was used for lavish restaurant meals, trips to Las Vegasand Espada's campaign.
Espada called it a litany of falsehoods. On Tuesday afternoon,he accused the Democratic attorney general of a politicallymotivated attack. He also accused Cuomo of tapping the phone linesused by himself and his relatives and of taking a "steamroller
approach" against political enemies, a reference to the termdisgraced and former Gov. Eliot Spitzer once used for himself. Inthe civil suit, Cuomo also accused Espada of getting the
Soundview Board of Directors which he controls to give him aguaranteed $9 million severance package which, if was paid out,would bankrupt the clinic.
Cuomo had said a criminal investigation is under way and thatcharges against Espada could come soon. He said it was a matter of"legal strategy" to take the route of a civil lawsuit on Tuesday,but told reporters "stay tuned."
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