Five Political Scandals To (Sorta) Shake Brooklyn


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:


  1. This is like a parody of how clueless Brooklyn Magazine is about life in Brooklyn before the 21st century, right?

    Why not rename it honestly: add “of the last decade” to the title of the article, rather than preface it with ” a long, storied line of local politicians bringing scandal (and shame, of course) to our borough” makes you look utterly ridiculous and presumably unwilling or unable to research political scandals beyond your own memory (or that of everyone in your office).

    Ten years to you is long? Or do you all think Brooklyn politics was utterly pristine until you people got here? Or that your readership is so stupid that it doesn’t care about anything that happened before 2002? You couldn’t make a phone call to the Brooklyn Historical Society or talk to Marty Markowitz? (He’ll talk to anyone about this.)

    The first Brooklyn campaign I worked in was the first anti-Vietnam war congressional campaign, Mel Dubin’s, in 1966. His campaign manager was Steve Solarz, later a congressman brought down by the House bank scandal:…

    Two of my Congressmen in a row in the 60s and early 70s, Jack Murphy and Frank Brasco, ended up in federal prison for scandals in office, as did another 70s Brooklyn Congressman, Bert Podell. I could tell you about political scandals since that time, but I could also tell you about others in the 20th and late 19th century and there may have been bigger scandals before then.

    Please: this article would have been perfectly fine had you not tried another of your now-tired “of all time” pieces. We understand you’re not the magazine of the Brooklyn Historical Society or the Brooklyn College Alumni Association. Just don’t presume to speak for all of history when your memory doesn’t even go back to 1999.

    I hate hipster-bashing and one of the great things about Brooklyn is how we’ve absorbed all the changes new and vibrant populations have constantly brought to the borough, but this is the first time I think you’re totally myopic.

  2. OK, I reread it and I see the line “a few more recent examples.”

    As Emily Littella would say, never mind.

    But just remember us cranky old people are out here to keep your on your toes! (You don’t see anyone else commenting, do you?)

  3. Funny how you put “of all time” in quotes when the article never says anything of the sort and in fact says the *exact* opposite: “Consider a few more recent examples.”


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