Facing growing calls for his resignation, Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver, surrounded by an army of loyal supporters, apologized for his handling of the Vito Lopez allegations and announced a series of reforms to ensure, he said, that such mistakes will never be made again.
“I want New Yorkers to know I care deeply about this institution and its employees, that I remain dedicated to our core commission of protecting those who are most in need of a strong and caring government,” Mr. Silver told reporters at a press conference in Albany hours after Mr. Lopez officially resigned.
sex lies and videotape
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that voters don’t blame him for the scandals sweeping Albany, joking that nobody could have expected him to ban sex.
Speaking during an appearance on WCNY’s “Capitol Pressroom” earlier today, Mr. Cuomo was asked about a new poll that shows that, despite the recent scandals–including Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s resignation following sexual harassment allegations–his numbers have ticked slightly up.
Ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s resignation became effective at 9 a.m. this morning, and Assembly officials wasted little time scrubbing all traces of the disgraced legislator online and in Albany.
Mr. Lopez’s official government website has already been removed, as has his official Assembly email address. (“Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently,” a message read.) By 10:30 a.m., the nameplate outside his Legislative Office Building had also been removed–apparently forcibly, per a photo tweeted by The New York Times‘ Thomas Kaplan. His name will also be removed from his floor seat, an official said.
Disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez just announced that he will resign from the Assembly at the end of the legislative session–but still intends to run for City Council.
The announcement comes in the wake of a damning report released this week outlining his alleged sexual harassment of numerous young women who worked for him and a day after Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver said he would introduce a resolution seeking his expulsion.
And Stay out!
Describing his conduct as “nauseating,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn again called on disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez to resign from office, but held her fire when it came to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
A day after the release of a scathing report detailing Mr. Lopez’s alleged sexual harassment of numerous young female staffers, Ms. Quinn said Mr. Lopez had no business serving in elected office–much less running for the City Council–and urged New Yorkers to do anything they can to keep him out of City Hall.
As expected, Bronx Assemblyman Nelson Castro, who wore a wire to help indict his colleague, Eric Stevenson, announced his resignation today. Stepping down from office, in addition to cooperating with federal authorities, were steps he took in order to avoid prosecution himself.
“Today I announce that I am resigning my seat in the New York State Assembly, effective Monday, April 8, 2013,” Mr. Castro said in the statement, which can be viewed in full below. “On July 31, 2009, I was indicted by a Bronx County Grand Jury for committing perjury in a 2008 civil matter, held prior to my election to the Assembly. I appreciate the seriousness of my misconduct. Thereafter, I agreed to cooperate with …. various investigations aimed at rooting out public corruption.”
Democratic State Sen. Daniel Squadron called on his Democratic colleague, State Sen. Malcolm Smith, to resign after he was arrested this morning and accused of orchestrating bribery scheme to land himself in the Republican mayoral primary.
“The charges outlined in today’s complaint are simply shocking,” Mr. Squadron, who’s also a candidate for public advocate this year, said in a statement earlier today. “This is something that belongs in ‘House of Cards,’ not an election to decide who will run our city or any part of our government. Regardless of the outcome of the criminal charges filed against Senator Smith, he has lost the public trust — and he should resign.”
Earlier today, Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly announced his abidcation–the first time a Pope has stepped down since 1415–setting the stage for the dramatic process of electing a new Vatican leader. And, although Congressman Michael Grimm doesn’t get a vote in that select process, the Staten Island lawmaker wants everyone to know he’s backing New York’s own Cardinal Timothy Dolan for the holy vocation.
“It is too early to determine the full extent of Pope Benedict’s legacy; however, New Yorkers will never forget the gift he gave us with the elevation of Cardinal Dolan,” Mr. Grimm announced in a statement. “Cardinal Dolan has lifted the spirits of Catholics and non-Catholics throughout New York and the world, and renewed the faith of many. If it were up to me to pick the next pope, Cardinal Dolan would have my vote!”
On Inside City Hall last night, former Governor Eliot Spitzer, who left office under the cloud of his own sex scandal, was called to weigh in on former C.I.A. Director David Petraeus’ affair and whether President Barack Obama should have accepted his resignation as a result.
“As I understand the facts as we’ve seen in the papers so far, there was no criminal violation here,” Mr. Spitzer argued. “There was no violation, I’ve been told, of even C.I.A. rules or regulations although there may be some questions there. It does strike me that perhaps the president could have looked him in the eye and said, ‘You have violated a bevy of ethical and moral rules that you understand. You will have to deal with that. You and your family will deal with that. But you will go back and continue to serve your nation. You will be straightforward with the public with what you’ve done. But I’m telling you as the commander and chief, serve the nation. That’s what we expect of you; deal with the personal issues in your own way.’”
2010 gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino isn’t too happy with Dean Skelos.
A letter Mr. Paladino is circulating called the Senate majority leader and fellow Republican “incompetent or diabolical.”
“Your self-serving and weak demeanor and participation in illusion and theatrics in dealing with the Governor, Sheldon Silver and the establishment cabal in Albany are an affront to the people who worked so hard to elect a Republican senate majority only to be thrown under the bus,” Mr. Paladino wrote in the letter, which was also sent to various leaders of the New York Republican Party, the press, and “Everyone Else.”