Espada's Son Bows Out of 120K Gig Amid Scrutiny

His son's new job was the latest benefit for the elder Espada

Finally, something sticks to the teflon pol.

The son of New York Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. is expected to resign from his new $120,000-a-year Senate job after prosecutors said they were investigating the hiring.

Senate Democrats' spokeswoman Selvena Brooks said that former Assemblyman Pedro G. Espada will resing from his job as Senate liaison between governments on Thursday.

The elder Espada said his son told him he didn't want to be a "distraction" and would hold a Thursday press conference announcing the decision. 

“He applied for the job with great enthusiasm and the best of intentions, and I am certain that his qualifications and experience in city and state government won him the position," Espada said in a statement.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office  said it had opened a probe into whether the move had violated nepotism rules.

"Since Monday, we have been reviewing the matter of the hiring of Pedro G. Espada. Yesterday, conversations took place between senior members of this Office and members of the Senate and its staff, including Senator Espada, regarding the legality of the hiring and the relevant provisions of the Public Officers Law," Cuomo said.

The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the investigation and asked to remain anonymous.

Espada Jr. has been called the "teflon pol" because no charges of corruption ever seem to stick.

Brooks said earlier Wednesday that the younger Espada was the best choice among the candidates for the position. "Pedro G. Espada was hired on the merits and will be a valued addition to our team," she said.

On Wednesday, former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio called the hiring another example of a broken political system that is "too corrupt to be fixed by our elected officials in Albany." He urged Cuomo to investigate the process by which it happened.

The elder Espada was the dissident Democrat who made possible a June coup in the Senate when he joined a Republican-led coalition, taking the slim majority from his Democratic party in exchange for a lucrative leadership post. He later rejoined the Democrats with the post of majority leader.

Espada said that his son wasn't hired in return for his rejoining the Democrats, that the hiring was not the result of any quid pro quo.

"He has been expressing a desire to return to government service in some capacity and saw this opportunity. I encouraged him to pursue it. That was the extent of my involvement," the senator said Tuesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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