Thursday, June 25, 2009

Feisty Flacks: The Plot Surrounding Espada's Unopened District Office Thickens

Angry constituents protest outside of Pedro Espada's
unopened District Office earlier this month

Meow - the flacks up in Albany are getting feisty!

BoogieDowner has been lamenting the fact that Pedro Espada Jr, beyond spending most of his time in Mamaroneck rather than the Bronx, is the only New York State Senator without a functioning district office open.

Well, an unnamed source in Mr. Espada's office told the ole BD that Mr. Espada is desperately trying to open his office at 400 E. Fordham Road, but that the Secretary of the Senate is holding up the lease signing for political reasons. We were encouraged by the same unnamed source to funnel our outrage to the following person:

Tracy Starr
District Office Coordinator
New York State Senate
(518) 455-3145
(518) 426-6831 Fax

When said outrage was conveyed to Ms. Starr, she said she would take my number and look into the matter. I replied that over the last two months I have had my name and number taken by scores of people in Albany who never called me back and that I was not confident I would ever hear from her again. I was punted to a press person who said that the lease agreement was utterly unacceptable and that the fact that Mr. Espada doesn't have an office open is a matter of choice. Here's the official quote:

"It does not appear that it has ever taken this long for any other senator to successfully open a district office. The terms and leasing requirements of this particular space sought by Pedro Espada were recently brought to our attention, and a number of issues were raised because of the unlikeliness that the terms agreed to would actually be approved by the Attorney General's office. Members are permitted to seek any space they find suitable, and it appears that Espada has chosen this space and continues to push for this space despite the many concerns that have been brought to our attention. This location is a matter of choice, and we must deal with the leasing concerns that have arisen as a result."

When I asked the Espada camp for a response to this comment I was provided with a vitriolic (and lengthy) comment that all but called Malcolm Smith a liar and seemed to indicate that they (and not the 33rd district constituents) were getting the run-around. Here's the Espada camp comment:

"The Senate central staff office has intentionally mishandled this matter. Their well-calculated foot-dragging on approving a lease for our district office has been politically motivated by former Majority Leader Malcolm Smith with the clear objective of embarrassing Senator Espada. The explanation offered by Senate central staff is a blatant lie and an absolute disgrace. This, unequivocally, is their fault”

“We have in our possession dated, supportive documentation between Senator Espada and the owners of 400 East Fordham Road – a letter of intent, to be specific – as early as February 4, 2009. In addition, we have nearly 36 E-mail correspondences with the Senate district office coordinator expressing our strong desire to finalize the lease and open our district office. There have been numerous times when we thought the lease was approved, only to have the Senate district office coordinator and/or central staff counsel contrive a new problem – with each problem taking weeks to resolve”

“Furthermore, lease negotiations with the landlord have been handled by the
Senate central staff office, as they are for all Senators, and not directly by Senator Espada or his office. In conclusion, Senator Espada, who has a nearly 40-year history of community service, would like nothing more than to have this issue resolved so he can meet personally with his constituents of the 33rd district and address their concerns.”

One of these camps must have provided a less than truthful comment to BoogieDowner. Somebody's got some 'splaining to do...



Anonymous said...

Why would anyone believe anything that Espada says?

Doreen said...

I think Espada's only concern these days is how much screen time he's getting on the nightly news. I wonder how much the Republicans are paying this jerk to take their side.

Eric said...

The republicans have offered him whatever the salary is for Senate President in addition to what he is already making as Senator and in addition to his committee chairmanship. Also, Golissano has probably offered him a nice chunk of cheese for his "Not-for-profit" (I put that in quotes because I wouldn't be surprised if he's skimming the top off of his "health centers"). I agree whatever this man says needs to tested with a lie detector.

Dave said...

Great Reporting BoogieDowner!

The Esapada camp claim that Pedro would like nothing more than to meet his constituents rings more than a bit false. Surely one doesn't need a district office to have a town hall style meeting. Surely, any number of community groups or local churches would open their doors for Pedro to meet the residents of the 33rd. Besides, whoever met an assemblyman at the district office, that's where you go to meet their staffers.

Keep up the great work!