N.Y. State Senator Pocketed $1.3 Million|from Sham Job-Training Program, AG Says

     (CN) – New York’s Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. pocketed $1.35 million from a bogus job-training program, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo claimed in New York state court. It’s the second lawsuit in two weeks that Cuomo filed against Espada. Last week, the attorney general accused the Bronx Democrtat of diverting charitable assets and lining his pockets with more than $14 million.




     Espada and his son violated labor laws by creating the sham program that Cuomo says cheated about 100 workers since 2005 and shortchanged the state’s coffers.
     The lawsuit says Espada created Espada Management as a vehicle to siphon money from Comprehensive Community Development Corp., also known as Soundview.
     Cuomo says the money went from Soundview to Espada Management, run by his son, Pedro G. Espada, that allowed Espada Managers to supply janitors for Soundview’s medical clinics.
     The two operated a sham job-training program to cut costs and maximize profits, Cuomo said, and mischaracterized workers as trainees who were then paid far below minimum wage.
     Some workers made less than $70 a week, or about $1.75 per hour, Cuomo said.
     “This was a sham job training program pure and simple with workers receiving no training and getting virtually no jobs,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Espada ripped off his community in order to maximize the amount of money he could siphon out of the Soundview clinic.”
     The lawsuit says the workers were lured into the program with bogus promises of future jobs and training.
     The Espadas did not issue proper pay stubs, and failed to pay state unemployment taxes, make deductions or provide workers’ compensation coverage, the lawsuit states.
     Cuomo seeks restitution and damages for unpaid wages.

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