Vito Lopez quits Assembly, eyes City Council amid sexual harassment scandal

Posted at 6:53 PM, May 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-17 18:53:07-04

Williamsburg, BROOKLYN (PIX11) —  Some folks in Vito Lopez’s district are disenchanted with the Assemblyman’s latest move.

“That’s the problem, they think they’re big so they can do anything,” said Alini Iusmen of Queens.

“It’s absurd,” said Lisa Tilo of Brooklyn, shaking her head.

In a statement Friday, Lopez maintained his innocence amidst the swirling scandal of sexual harassment claims.

Then he announced his resignation but not because of the controversy.

“I made no secret that I intend to run for New York City Council in November, which requires me to resign my current term,” Lopez said in a statement.

He says he feels obligated to serve out this session of the Assembly, so he will resign as of June 20, 2013.

Governor Cuomo says the end of June is not soon enough.  He has been pressuring Lopez to resign because of what he calls the “disgusting” sexual harrasment scandal.

In a statement, the governor said, “Vito Lopez should not spend another day in office, let alone a whole month. He should resign effective immediately and if he does not, he must be expelled. ”

We tried to follow up with the Assemblyman.  His district office was closed in the middle of the day.  No one was  at his home in Brooklyn but we spotted his car at his girlfriend’s apartment in Queens.

Some constituents say keeping a low profile would be a better idea for the so-called disgraced Assemblyman, instead of getting back in the game as a Councilman.

“No, no, I’m sorry, not such a great idea.  You don’t need someone like that running for anything,” said Theresa Bido of Queens.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver sent a statement to PIX11 News saying that he intends to move forward with a resolution on a Monday to expel Lopez immediately.

Meanwhile, attorney Gloria Allred, who represents two of Lopez’ accusers said Silver himself should be kicked out because of his role in possibly covering up the Lopez scandal a long time ago.

In a statement late Friday, Allred said, “Silver actively chose to sweep the claims under the rug, refused to investigate and put more women at risk.”

This week an investigation concluded that there was no basis to file criminal charges against Lopez in some of the sexual harassment claims.