NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was like a circus at the state capitol on Wednesday.
CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has obtained video of angry Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. throwing money at protestors.
Talk about throwing money at a problem. Embattled Espada got so upset at a group of housing protestors in Albany that he, inexplicably, started throwing cash at them before a Senate sergeant-at-arms escorted him away. It wasn’t a pretty picture.
The crowd chanted “Hey he ho ho, Espada has got to go” at the Bronx lawmaker, who is certainly no stranger to protests. Angry constituents have accosted him in Albany and at his out-of-district home in Mamaroneck. Last month he turned the sprinklers on when CBS 2 tried to interview him there and he did walk out in a huff during an interview “Eye on New York,” but Wednesday was first time he was caught on tape being so uncontrollably angry.
Political experts said it’s the wrong image for voters, especially since the incident happened at the same time Espada and fellow Democrats were voting to increase taxes by more than $1 billion.
“It’s a bad message, frankly, to throw money at people in tough economic times. It looks like you’re throwing it away. It also looks like you’re demeaning them. That’s not so good,” consultant Hank Sheinkopf told CBS 2.
Then again, according to charges filed by the state attorney general, Espada is a big spender. He’s been accused of skimming millions from his Soundview Health Clinic, including $20,000 on sushi. The multiple probes of may be taking their toll on Espada.
“Pedro Espada has to have a lot of moxie. When you’re being looked at by that many agencies at some point you throw off a little steam and that’s probably what that money was. That was money and steam being thrown at voters,” Sheinkopf said.
A spokesman for Espada claimed his security was breached.
Meanwhile, critics were blasting Espada on Wednesday for having a bloated payroll that nearly equals that of the entire western New York Senate delegation. He has 40 staffers and spends more than $36,000 a week.