As Vito Lopez resigns, scrutiny of Speaker Silver mounts

ALBANY, NY - MARCH 12: Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver speaks to members of the media in the State Capitol March 12, 2008 in Albany, New York. New York state Governor Eliot Spitzer announced his resignation today after various media reports have linked him to a prostitution ring. New York Lieutenant Governor David Paterson will take over for Spitzer when his resignation goes into effect Monday, March 17, 2008. (Photo by Daniel Barry/Getty Images)
Sheldon Silver approved a settlement with two women who accused Assemblyman Vito Lopez of harassment. Credit: Daniel Barry/Getty Images

State Assemblyman Vito Lopez is set to resign Monday morning after an ethics report detailing sexual harassment allegations against him led Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to take steps to expel the assemblyman. But as Lopez prepares to leave office, Silver is facing mounting scrutiny for secretly approving a settlement with two women who accused Lopez, the New York Times reports.

The report released last week by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics found that Silver and his staff failed to refer the initial allegations against Lopez to the ethics committee. And a separate report by Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan suggested that the way Silver’s staff handled the allegations encouraged Lopez to continue with his inappropriate conduct.

The state Republican Party and several Assembly Republicans have called for Silver’s resignation, the Times reports. Women’s groups and government watchdog organizations have also criticized the speaker. No prominent Democratic elected officials have called for Silver to step down.

“The speaker has said from the start that we have made serious mistakes in the way this was handled, although we believed at the time we were acting according to the wishes of the victims,” a spokesman for Silver wrote in an email to the Times. “We will be discussing with members important changes so these mistakes will not be repeated.”

The allegations against Lopez first became public last August. Anger towards the assemblyman intensified after last week’s report, which contained graphic details of how Lopez sexually harassed at least eight female staffers. He told the women to massage him, wear low-cut blouses and miniskirts, stay overnight with him to “cuddle” and other requests. Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that Lopez should be expelled if he does not resign.

Lopez said Friday that he would resign on June 20 and then focus on his run for City Council, but he announced on Saturday that he would resign effective Monday at 9 a.m.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Jews in eastern Ukraine ordered to register, Kerry…

Secretary of State John Kerry condemned reports that Jews in eastern Ukraine had been ordered to register with the authorities "or suffer the consequences."

National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.