Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver admits fault in $100K payout to past accuser of Assemblyman Vito Lopez

Once-powerful Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver admitted he was wrong in the secrecy surrounding a more than $100,000 payout to a woman who accused Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexual harassment earlier this year.

Silver approved the payment of $103,080 in public money to settle claims that the longtime Brooklyn assemblyman harassed at least one female staffer who worked with him.

The details of the secret settlement come after Lopez was censured by the Assembly Friday for allegedly sexually harassing two different women in separate incidences.

But late yesterday, Silver said he realized full public disclosure would have been better than a private payout.

“I now believe it was the wrong one from the perspective of transparency,” Silver said, according to the Associated Press. “I take full responsibility in not insisting that all cases go to the ethics committee.”

Silver said he also regretted approving the confidential settlement, with public money, that kept Lopez’s name shielded.

Going forward, he said there should be open investigations instead that still maintain the victims’ privacy.
As part of the settlement, Lopez was required to attend a sexual harassment workshop. Both sides reportedly signed a confidentiality agreement.

The National Organization for Women (NOW) blasted Lopez as well as Sheldon, accusing the Assembly speaker of using taxpayer money to silence past victims.

“Sheldon Silver is now in the hot seat with Lopez, and he has a lot of explaining to do,” NOW president Sonia Ossorio said.

Lopez denies all the charges, calling them “unfair and untrue. Never did I intentionally touch or attempt to kiss either of the complainants. I have never forced myself on anyone, nor would I.”

Vito Lopez resigns from powerful post

Lopez said Tuesday he would step down as the Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman.

“The onslaught of character attacks has put enormous emotional pressures on my family and close friends,” he said in a statement. “I cannot sit by and allow that to continue.”

He maintained, “I have never sexually harassed any staff, and I hope and intend to prove in the coming months the political nature of these accusations.”

He had already been removed as chairman of the powerful Assembly housing committee.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said he was “relieved that he did the right thing.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…