In a rare move, the state Legislative Ethics Commission has spoken, and it has fined former Sen. Pedro Espada, D-Bronx, $80,000 for hiring his uncle when he was a lawmaker.
The Legislative Ethics Commission is made up of lawmakers themselves, and it has been knocked for rarely taking action against one of its own. This is the agency’s first fine against a once elected official.
It found in 2010 that former Sen. Hiram Monserrate, D-Queens, should be charged with violating the public officers’ law for creating a legal defense fund.
The fine is the latest, but not the most serious, issue for Espada, who lost re-election in 2010. Espada is on trial for bilking his Bronx health-care clinic out of more than $500,000. A verdict is expected any day.
Among the charges is that he spent money for the clinic at sushi restaurants near his Mamaroneck, Westchester County home.
The Legislative Ethics Commission said Espada violated the Public Officers Law by hiring his uncle, Juan Feliciano, in 2009, as a “special assistant.” The commission wants Espada to pay back Feliciano’s $70,000 salary and pay a $10,000 fine.