Espaillat Challenger Levine Wants AG Investigation

On the steps of City Hall on Monday, state senate candidate Mark Levine called on Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate his opponent in the 31st district for allegedly creating a nonprofit organization to employ friends, family and political associates.

The Post reported on Sunday that the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Economic Development, a nonprofit largely funded by state grants secured by Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat, was mostly staffed by members of his campaign and inner circle.

“We’re here to ask the Attorney General to see if state funds have been used to provide jobs and income to family, friends and political associates,” Mr. Levine said. “We know enough based on surface reports for alarms to be ringing–and indeed they are.”

Things he says wants to know: Were people from the community interviewed for jobs at this organization, or was acquaintance with Mr. Espaillat enough of a requisite to be hired? Was the hiring process fair and transparent? And, were employees like Nurys de Oleo, the director of the organization (who earned $53,000) and a member of the board of directors of Mr. Espaillat’s political club, wearing two hats at once?

It is unclear whether hiring friends and family is illegal–a question which should determine whether or not the attorney general would get involved.

Asked at the press conference if this was merely an ethical query, Mr. Levine declined to comment.

“That’s for the Attorney General to decide.”

Further uptown, near Mr. Espaillat’s campaign headquarters, about 40 of his supporters gathered just after 1 p.m. to protest Mr. Levine’s letter to Mr. Cuomo, a spokesman said. Stay tuned for the second act.

Espaillat Challenger Levine Wants AG Investigation