Following Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s censure last week for sexually harassing two female staffers, the New York Times reported Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had “quietly” settled at least one other complaint against the powerful Brooklyn Democrat, using an undetermined amount of taxpayer dollars to do so.

Asked for details about the settlement, the Assembly speaker’s office was initially mum. But I just received the voucher for $103,080 that appears below.

A Silver spokesman said the majority had searched its records and found just one document that refers to a payment of a settlement agreement. This is it.

Silver spokesman Michael Whyland said he could not discuss the details of the payment, but reiterated:

“The Assembly refers all charges of sexual harassment directly to the ethics committee. When complaints were made against Assemblymember Lopez in July they were immediately referred to the committee, which conducted a thorough investigation, culminating in the Speaker’s action on Friday.”

“The only instance in which a complaint would not be handled by the ethics committee would be if a victim insisted for reasons of personal privacy that it not go before the committee. The Assembly would only keep such a matter confidential at the express insistence of the victim.”

As far as I can tell, there were three accusers. One did not want to go through the ethics committee process, choosing to go the settlement route instead. The date of this payment – early June – corresponds with the timeline provided by Silver’s office on the accusations lodged against Lopez with the committee. It took about three weeks for the bipartisan committee members to recommend taking action.

A settlement theoretically could include an agreement not to file charges against Lopez or discuss the allegations against him, which would explain why Silver’s office isn’t discussing this voucher in detail.

The two accusers who did choose to file complaints with the ethics committee have retained counsel. The attorney is reportedly weighing whether to sue Lopez and/or the Assembly.

voucher 8-27-12