NY commission says Former State Sen. Espada Improperly Hired Uncle

A state ethics panel has found "reasonable cause" to believe former state Sen. Pedro Espada, already facing federal prosecution on public corruption charges, broke New York law by hiring an uncle for his Senate staff.

Espada employed Juan A. Feliciano Jr. as a special assistant for most of 2009, according to the Legislative Ethics Commission, and could face a civil penalty or a referral for prosecution on a misdemeanor charge.

The state Executive Law prohibits legislators from participating in decisions to hire immediate relatives, including direct descendants of a grandparent.

The Bronx Democrat lost a primary in 2010. Calls to Espada and his attorney were not immediately returned.

He and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, are awaiting trial on federal charges that they funneled more than $500,000 from the Bronx health clinic to support a lavish lifestyle.

With the Associated Press