Last Updated: 1:44 AM, March 27, 2012
Posted: 12:54 AM, March 27, 2012
There’s no accounting for these alleged crooks.
Pedro Gautier Espada called the shots on how to categorize suspicious expenses at the Bronx janitorial company that he and his father, former state Sen. Pedro Espada Jr., are accused of looting, an accountant yesterday testified at their embezzlement trial.
Espada the elder was particularly eager in 2007 to maximize the amount of tax exemptions that the for-profit Community Expansion Development Corp. could take, CPA Marc Koppelman said in Brooklyn federal court.
An audit in 2002 had resulted in denial of all of the firm’s business exemptions, Koppelman explained, adding that Espada “asked if there was anything we could do to lower his tax liability.”
CEDC paid no taxes in 2006 after claiming $327,328 in income and $328,653 in business expenses, said Koppelman, whose testimony was expected to bolster prosecutors’ claims the Espadas used the CEDC like a piggy bank to fund a cushy lifestyle, listing personal purchases as tax-deductible business expenses.
Koppelman said the information that he used to prepare the CEDC’s allegedly dodgy tax returns was provided by the company’s boss — Pedro Gautier Espada.
“I told him I needed him to go through the ledger and identify the nature of every business expense,” Koppelman recalled.
He said he told the younger Espada in July 2007 to mark which CEDC disbursements were business expenses and which were personal and “explained to [him] that personal items would not be deducted.”
One expense flagged by prosecutors is a $500 check from July 2006 to Evesha Films and Audio. Koppelman said Pedro Gautier Espada marked that as a business expense, listing it under “professional fees.”
It was actually for a video of Pedro Espada Jr.’s grandchild’s birthday party, Evesha boss Evelyn Lopez testified last week.
Lopez also recalled being “outraged” when Pedro Espada Jr. asked her to bill a 2005 birthday party for one of his grandkids as “children’s community outreach” so he could avoid paying for the DVDs personally. She said she did get paid later — by the CEDC.