Two consulting firms with links to State Senator Pedro Espada Jr. are the subject of a federal probe into alleged tax fraud and money laundering, numerous newspapers and blogs are reporting.
One firm, A-1 Multi-Service LLC, seems to exist in name-only. According to state records it's located at 2384 Hughes Ave. in Tremont, but that address is only home to apartments and a cigar shop. (Here's a photo.)
The other firm, GDP Consulting in Niagara Falls, shares an address with an accounting business with ties to Steve Pigeon, Espada's senate counsel.
News reports say Pigeon and Espada's son, Pedro G. Espada, are also part of the investigation.
Specifically, the feds are looking into why GDP Consulting paid A-1 Multi-Service tens of thousands of dollars in the last nine months or so.
This afternoon, at a press conference in Albany, Sen. Espada denied having any connection to A-1, but wouldn't say if his son did. He called the allegations 100 percent false and said they were politically motivated. (At the weekend, Desiree Prigrim-Hunter, a Bronx community activist, formally announced that she would run against him this fall.)
For more on all of this, see here, here, here, and here.
According to campaign finance records, A-1 hasn't contributed to Espada's campaign coffers, but, interestingly, it has given $1,000 to his good friend State Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr. (see p. 2), as well as $150 to Noam Bramson, the mayor of New Rochelle. We emailed Diaz's office to find out what that's all about. (Thanks to the BxNN reader who sent us the tip) UPDATE 6:30 P.M.: Last month, Hiram Monserrate, the former state senator and another Espada ally, received $9,600 from GDP Consulting, the STATE of POLITICS blog is reporting.
Espada, of course, already has more than his fair share of legal woes. To give just one example, the state attorney general's office is investigating whether he used monies from his healthcare network to help him topple incumbent Efrain Gonzalez in the 2008 Democratic primary.
In other Espada news, he held a rally today in support of the rent-freeze bill he's sponsoring - a bill some affordable housing groups say will benefit landlords. According to a press release his office sent out on Friday: "New York City tenants, housing advocates and clergy and community leaders [will be]... chanting slogans, waving placards and criticizing so-called advocacy groups as being out of touch with the needs of tenants in poor and middle class neighborhoods."
We'll have more on the rally tomorrow.
File photo by Alma Watkins.