Former state Senate power broker Pedro Espada was sentenced to five years in prison on Friday for plundering his nonprofit Soundview health network, climaxing more than a decade of investigations of a politician who became a poster boy for Albany dysfunction.
Espada, 59, who represented the Bronx in the Senate, was convicted last year in federal court in Brooklyn for stealing more than $500,000 from Soundview by billing it for personal expenses and diverting rents. He later pleaded guilty to related tax charges as well.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for between 70 and 87 months. Espada was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Frederic Block, who he has accused of secretly visiting jurors and urging them to break a deadlock during deliberations. Block has denied it.
After the sentence, Espada was remanded and left with marshals after blowing a kiss to family.
Evidence at trial showed that Espada used a Soundview credit card to bill the nonprofit for lavish meals, a car lease, parties and improvements on his house in Eastchester.
Espada, a Democrat, was best known for a 2009 episode in which he briefly gave Republicans of the Senate control by switching his vote, only to return control back to the Democrats weeks later by voting with them in return for being named majority leader. ___