Vito Lopez will resign, but not fast enough for many officials
Assemblyman Vito Lopez will resign in June, according to news reports.
But his promise to step down at the end of the session only ignited more calls for him to leave – immediately.
In a statement today, he said he would resign June 20.
According to The New York Times, Lopez suggested he would finish this session in office then run for the City Council.
The move comes after Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said he would recommend expelling Lopez from the legislature.
Lopez was censured last year after sexual harassment allegations surfaced. This week, a new report detailed his alleged behavior, including accounts of incidents with multiple women who worked for him. The report detailed asking staffers to give him massages and wear revealing clothing, among other requests.
Many have criticized Lopez as well as other lawmakers’ actions regarding him, including reported secret settlements after the allegations.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that the situation required “a zero tolerance policy.”
“We must now send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated,” Cuomo said. “Vito Lopez should not spend another day in office, let alone a whole month. He should resign effective immediately and if he does not, he must be expelled.”
The National Organization for Women released a statement saying he should be expelled immediately “to ensure a sexual predator is removed from office.”
“Sexual predators should not be casting votes on legislation that impacts women’s lives,” the group said.
And city officials said he will not have an easy time running for City Council. The Speaker, Christine Quinn, told the Times his candidacy was “one of the most offensive things I have ever seen happen in New York City politics.”
His rival Council candidate, Antonio Reynoso, added, ”Vito Lopez clearly does not deserve to hold public office.”