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The Espadas' Embezzlement Trial Set

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Ex-lawmaker Pedro Espada Jr. is preparing for a federal trial on embezzlement charges this week in New York.

Espada and his son are accused of pilfering state grants directed to the Soundview Health Center to pay for tickets for Broadway shows, a down payment on a Bentley and a birthday party pony, among other things. Prosecutors say the spending of more than $500,000 also included tickets for sporting events and concerts, posh restaurant tabs and a petting zoo.

Espada has described the indictment by the U.S. attorney's office and then-state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo as a political "witch hunt." The charges ultimately cost him his state Senate seat.

Meanwhile, the beleaguered Bronx health care clinics he founded are fighting to stay open to serve some of New York's poorest neighborhoods.

 

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Elizabeth Dilts

is currently pursuing a masters at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Dilts came to New York City from Shanghai, China, where she worked as an editor with the English-language City Weekend magazine. Prior to that, Dilts spent a year in Nanjing, China, with a bilingual, Mandarin-English magazine and a stint in Tianjin, China, with a business publication. Looking to use her Mandarin back in the United States, Dilts is covering Flushing, Queens, one of New York’s four Chinatowns. A native of Gary, Indiana., Dilts received her bachelor’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. While in China, she reported on Internet usage among young adults and the education issues faced by multi-ethnic children raised in China.