Cuomo: One Way Or The Other, Lopez Payments Will Be Investigated
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office says the payments for alleged sexual harassment victims must be investigated and that a Moreland Act Commission is possible if their isn’t an inquiry.
In a statement from spokesman Josh Vlasto, the governor’s office says they have no reason to believe that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics will not investigate the settlements, which had been negotiated by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
But if there’s an attempt to block that probe, then the Moreland Act panel will be triggered.
“In response to public reports and inquiries today, we have no reason to believe that JCOPE is not acting appropriately and diligently and conducting a full, thorough investigation, using all its legal authority, of claims of sexual harassment against Assemblyman Vito Lopez and the circumstances surrounding their handling. As far as rumors to the contrary suggesting that JCOPE is not investigating the settlement payments and the circumstances under which they were made, we believe they are just that – rumors. However, if such rumors are true, we believe it would be unconscionable for any legislative appointees to JCOPE to block such investigation. If they are, the Governor will appoint a Moreland Act Commission to conduct an investigation that would include these matters. Either way, the public will know the facts and answers to the questions that have been raised.”
The New York Times reported today that JCOPE will not be investigating the settlements, which total more than $100,000, to legislative staffers who accused Lopez of sexual harassment.
Gloria Allred, the celebrity lawyer who is representing one of the women, confirmed she has received subpoenas relating to the case.
JCOPE itself has not confirmed it is conducting an investigation, but will be holding another special meeting on Monday.
Silver himself has said he regrets keeping the settlements a secret, but says they were conducted properly and the speaker’s office itself has said it would welcome an investigation. A JCOPE investigation or even a Moreland Act Commission would possibly show there was involvement from others beyond Silver in the case.
Naturally the news brought out the ever outspoken Ravi Batra, the JCOPE commissioner appointed by Senate Minority Leader John Sampson.
Batra, in a typically long statement originally released to the Times, claimed the ethics panel was being controlled by the governor, even as it’s supposed to investigate him.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on September 7, 2012 at 3:54 pm, and is filed under 2012 DNC. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|