WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — State Sen. Adriano Espaillat said he was distraught over the news that Assemblyman Nelson Castro — his former chief of staff — resigned in disgrace Thursday after helping the feds bust yet another corrupt Albany politician.
"For me it was a heartbreaker," Espaillat told DNAinfo.com New York Thursday evening at a kick-off event for City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez's re-election.
Castro stepped down Thursday afternoon after he cooperated with federal authorities in exchange for having separate charges against him dropped.
He was indicted on perjury charges in July 2009 for lying under oath about an investigation into nine people who registered to vote using his Bronx apartment. The people turned out to be related to Castro and his girlfriend.
To save his own skin, Castro worked with the feds for more than a year, feeding them information that ultimately led to the arrest of his colleague, Assemblyman Eric Stevenson, and four others on bribery charges Thursday.
Considered a "rising star" by some in the Bronx political scene, Castro grew up in the Dominican Republic, came to the U.S. when he was 11 years old, and later became the first Dominican to be elected to public office in the Bronx. He made immigration issues one of his focuses, and was chairman of the Assembly Task Force on New Americas.
"Here was a young man with a great future ahead of him, but the people deserve honest and transparent leadership," Espaillat said of Castro, who served as his chief of staff when Espaillat was in the Assembly.
Espaillat said that he had not reached out to Castro since the revelation of the scandal.