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

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…