Veteran Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez, virtually a caricature of a sleazy, old-school political boss, resigned yesterday from his position as Kings County Democratic Party Chair amid numerous accusations of sexual harassment.
In case you haven’t happened to be anywhere in the vicinity of The New York Post this week, Lopez had been censured by an ethics panel for “both verbal and physical sexual abuse” of female staffers, including “multiple incidents of unwelcome physical contact” as well as “putting [his] hand between [a staffer’s] upper thighs, putting [his] hand as far up between her legs as [he] could.”
Additionally, news broke this week that State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had helped Lopez quietly settle a separate harassment claim earlier this summer, using $103,080 of taxpayer money. Silver has already apologized for his handling of the cover-up, and an investigation seems inevitable.
So yes, the whole thing has been pretty sketch. In typical fashion, nearly every other politician in the state demanded that Lopez step down from his leadership position, and step down he did, but not before claiming that all the allegations against him were utterly fabricated.
Though it hasn’t (yet?) become a downfall of Weiner or Spitzer-esque proportions, Lopez has joined a long, storied line of local politicians bringing scandal (and shame, of course) to our borough. Consider a few more recent examples: