Silver: Lopez No Longer An Effective Lawmaker
A contrite Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver told NY1′s Josh Robin this afternoon that he no longer feels Assemblyman Vito Lopez is an effective member of his Democratic conference and should resign.
Silver also said there is no indication he is in danger of his the leadership post that has made him one of the most powerful — and controversial — officials in state government.
Silver said in the interview he called Lopez last week and asked him to resign, a request that was not granted.
“I have asked him to do that,” Silver said. “I called him last week and asked him to do that. I told him I didn’t think he’d be effective having lost his chairmanship, having lost most of his staff, I did not continue to believe he can be an effective representative of his constituents and I believe that is a message that was important to be made to the public.”
As for keeping his job as speaker, a post he’s held since 1994, Silver said he believes he has the confidence of his members.
“I serve at the pleasure of the members and I think I retain the confidence of the members and I will continue to serve as long as they’re confident in me,” he said.
Silver and the Assembly approved a $103,000 settlement with one of the alleged victims of Lopez’s sexual harassment and the whole case may be taken up by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. A separate probe is being launched by State Island District Attorney Dan Donovan.
In an interview here in Charlotte on the eve of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, Silver reiterated he regretted the decisions made in the case.
“We should not have agreed to a confidential settlement and we should have referred the case to ethics,” Silver.
He added that the decision not to send it to the ethics panel was made out of privacy concerns.
“There’s a delicate balance to the rights of victims and at the time we believed that was the wishes of the victims,” Silver said.
That’s a stance that’s angered high-powered attorney Gloria Allred, who says Silver is blaming the victims by suggesting they had propelled the current situation.
Silver, meanwhile, said his attorneys in the Assembly counsel’s office handled the case, but did say there was involvement from both the comptroller and attorney general’s office.
I can tell you our attorneys handled the case. I know there was consultation between our attorneys and the attorneys for the comptroller, some of the assistants in the attorney general’s office and the comptrollers office as well as the counsel. But our attorneys handled the case.
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