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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Espada Rolls Out Endorsements

Pedro Espada Jr. announced three endorsements today as he campaigns to fend off two Democratic challengers in the upcoming 33rd Senate District primary.

A spokesman for Espada said La Voz Hispana, a Harlem-based newspaper that doesn't appear to have an online presence, will endorse the state senator in an upcoming editorial.

Bishop Fernando Rodriguez (pictured in a pink shirt, apparently doing the Tango with Espada, above) of New York's chapter of the Latin/African American Chaplains Association (LACA), and Rosa Ayala, the vice president of the Dominican Day Parade, also pledged their support for Espada.

“Whether it's health care for the poor, services for senior citizens, affordable housing for working families, or educational opportunities for our children, Senator Espada delivers for our community," Rodriguez said in a statement.

The Rodriguez endorsement is especially noteworthy because he and his organization appear to be looking for a larger role in Bronx politics.

LACA and Rodriguez had a presence during the successful insurgent campaign of Fernando Cabrera, who narrowly defeated incumbent Maria Baez last fall to win the 14th Council District seat. Rodriguez and his entourage attended Cabrera's election night victory party and his inauguration at Lehman College in January.

Just last week, however, Cabrera announced his support for Espada's leading opponent, Gustavo Rivera, who has been endorsed by an army of unions and elected officials over the past several weeks. 


  1. Bishop made a good decision in supporting Cabrera last year, but a terrible decision supporting Espada this year.

  2. Some particulars on Espada's endorsements from the NY Daily News:




    Sunday, July 10th 2005, 6:58AM

    "BISHOP" Fernando Rodriguez touts himself as the president of the Latin American Chaplains Association. His Web site is plastered with photos of him with public officials, including Mayor Bloomberg and the chief of the NYPD's narcotics division.

    But Rodriguez also is a convicted felon under indictment along with other members of a controversial group of police buffs who illegally pass themselves off as law enforcement officers, the Daily News learned.

    "Let's be realistic, we all have a past and had we known better we would have done things different," Rodriguez said. "I think I've worked hard to make up for my mistakes and show that I am not the person I used to be."

    Rodriguez, 34, pleaded guilty in 1998 to scheming to defraud at least a dozen tenants who gave him deposits for apartments he had no authority to rent, according to court records.

    According to a law enforcement source, he also was busted in 1994 by the FBI for passing bad checks, although the disposition of that case is unclear.

    Since then, Rodriguez has clearly reinvented himself. He claims 1,000 chaplains across the city are members of his association and that he is certified by the city's Office of Emergency Management as a first-responder to disasters.

    When Rodriguez was collared Jan. 24 in upper Manhattan, he was driving with a suspended license, carrying a bogus police badge and also had a forged California driver's license.

    On the dashboard was a red bubble light and a bogus placard issued by the Kings County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a group he joined four years ago.

    Members of the controversial group, which is empowered by a 19th century law to investigate allegations of child abuse, have often been accused of misrepresenting themselves as law enforcement officers.

    "I never drove around acting like a cop," he said. "When I call the Police Department or the borough command, I am calling on behalf of the people in my community, not myself."

    Last month, the NYPD arrested nine other members of the Kings County Society for carrying bogus police badges or fraudulent identification.

    Prosecutors want the group to plead guilty to charges of issuing fake badges and parking placards and shut down operations for good. The case is scheduled to be back in Manhattan Supreme Court tomorrow.

  3. Let's leave Bishop alone. He paid for his mistakes. The real question here is whether he is using good judgment in supporting Espada.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. In my mind, he clearly used bad judgment in supporting Espada. The evidence also suggests that he violated tax laws by directly or indirectly (law says both are equally wrong) using his 501(c)3 to support a candidate.

    Riverdale Press is reporting on this malfeasance: http://riverdalepress.blogspot.com/2010/08/espadas-accidental-endorsement.html

    Ethically challenged Bishop supporting an ethically challenged candidate?

  6. I don't support Espada, but Jack please get your facts straight. A pastor is allowed to endorse a candidate. The 501c3 organization is not allowed to endorse. He is a voter and as a voter he can endorse whomsoever he wants.

    Now for those who Espada out, call Gustavo Rivera's offie and volunteer.

  7. Of course he is free to endorse as an individual. The press release that led to the original story reported at the Riverdale Press said that the bishop's 501(c)3 endorsed Espada. As you say -- clearly prohibited.

    The bishop appears to be back-tracking now that he is confronted with violating tax law and jeopardizing his group's tax status, saying he organized 300 members of his group to endorse. Even if you find that statement credible -- where did he get a list of names? Of course he got the list from his 501(c)3. That is using an asset of his 501(c)3 to support a candidate. From the IRS website:

    "The Prohibition on Political Campaign Intervention

    Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to all campaigns including campaigns at the federal, state and local level. Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes...

    Political campaign intervention includes any and all activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention. Distributing statements prepared by others that favor or oppose any candidate for public office will also violate the prohibition. Allowing a candidate to use an organization’s assets or facilities will also violate the prohibition if other candidates are not given an equivalent opportunity. Although section 501(c)(3) organizations may engage in some activities to promote voter registration, encourage voter participation, and provide voter education, they will violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention if they engage in an activity that favors or opposes any candidate for public office. Certain activities will require an evaluation of all the facts and circumstances to determine whether they result in political campaign intervention."

  8. You are assuming Bishop Rodriguez does not have personal contacts. Who do you think got the names to LACA...him? I am sure he has his own list of clergy. This is pure speculation.

    My point is that he should have considered someone else other than Espada to endorse.

  9. Espada knew this endorsement was illegal, yet he actively encouraged it and participated.

    Isn't there an accessory charge here for him as well? Of course, we can just add it to his tab!

  10. Doesn't the Coalition (a 501c3) send out troops to Albany to protest at Espada's office for "housing" issues, at the same time that they have people publicly supporting Rivera?

    Don't throw stones in glass houses...



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