The week before Vito Lopez resigned, the state ethics commission released a scathing 68-page report that detailed a lurid pattern of abuse in his district office.
According to the allegations, the former assemblyman once lamented the existence of statutory rape laws in the presence of a 14-year-old intern. Mr. Lopez demanded massages from female staffers, including one who cried and expressed her discomfort as a former rape victim. At a bar one evening, he grabbed an employee’s hands from across the table. When she tried to pull away, he tightened his grip. When she began to cry, Mr. Lopez said he’d release her only after she counted to 60. When she did, he stared at her for the full minute.
After resigning from his Assembly seat on Monday morning, Mr. Lopez is said to be contemplating a seemingly unfathomable second act: running for City Council. Given the accusations against him, what’s more surprising is that even his detractors acknowledge that Mr. Lopez actually has a viable path to victory.
It seems that at least one of the harshest allegations against Buffalo State Senator Mark Grisanti since he got in a fight in a Seneca Nation casino has been resolved in Mr. Grisanti’s favor.
One account of the incident had accused Mr. Grisanti of using a racial epithet against an African-American security guard. However, according to Police Captain William Thompson, WGRZ reported this evening that “the guard was asked if he heard anything along those lines and the guard told police he did not.”
ruben wades in
Earlier this morning, the outspoken State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. called on Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos to investigate Buffalo State Senator Mark Grisanti, who’s currently entangled in allegations that he instigated a fight in a bizarre casino brawl that left his wife wounded.
“There are too many versions of what happened the night of February 10, 2012 in the Seneca Niagara Casino,” Mr. Diaz said in the statement. “There is another story floating around where many people are claiming that Senator Grisanti threw the first punch and that he hit a woman. If this is so, these are very serious accusations.”
Mr. Diaz then pivoted to a past incident where one of his allies, State Senator Hiram Monserrate, was accused of slashing his girlfriend’s face with a piece of glass in 2009. Mr. Monserrate was subsequently convicted of misdemeanor and the State Senate voted to expel him from their legislative body.