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
Local

Two young children killed in deadly Queens fire

Two 4-year-old children died after a blaze at their Far Rockaway home on Saturday night. The Queens fire injured three others, including a third sibling.

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to “Orphan Black” Season 2! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany, while avoiding the…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

NFL

Chris Johnson: I wanted to go to 'a…

Now that Chris Johnson is a Jet, the team has to figure out if one of the most explosive players in the NFL over the last half decade has anything…

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

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