Effective this morning, disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn, is resigning from office, according to a letter released by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan.
The Staten Island District Attorney’s Office and the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics issued reports last Wednesday that were critical of Lopez’ conduct with women staffers. The ethics report said the Assemblyman had a history of sexually harassing female employees and detailed testimony of women who said Lopez pressured them to share hotels with him, give him massages and wear racy clothing.
Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, acting as a special prosecutor on the case, criticized Silver and the offices of the attorney general and state comptroller for a secret, taxpayer-funded settlement with women who accused Lopez of sexual harassment. He did not file criminal charges against Lopez.
Lopez denied he had sexually harassed female staff members and called their testimony “fallacious.” He said last week that he would resign June 20, at the end of the legislative session, and run for New York city Council. But Silver, Cuomo, other lawmakers and good-government groups said he should leave office immediately.
Silver said the Assembly was prepared to vote today on a resolution that would require the chamber’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance to conduct an immediate review of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics report and make recommendations for sanctions, including expulsion of Lopez. Silver said he supported expulsion.
But over the weekend, Lopez released a brief resignation letter that he wrote to Silver.
(Associated Press photo.)