By James King (The Village Voice)
August 31, 2012
It's fairly well known at this point that 71-year-old disgraced Assemblyman Vito Lopez is a dirty, dirty old man -- multiple women have filed complaints against him alleging various acts of sexual misconduct; former female staffers describe Lopez's office as a place where there is a "culture" that permits sexual harassment.
Adding to the outrage over the culture of harassment is the fact that in June the Assembly agreed to pay two of Lopez's victims $132,000 to essentially keep their mouths shut about Lopez's pervy-ness -- an agreement that was approved by Lopez's former pal Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
Yesterday, the Attorney General's Office released a series of emails that detail how the agreement to sweep the allegations under the rug was reached -- all of which you can see below.
Further reading on Lopez's pervy-ness:
- Ladies, Assemblyman Vito Lopez Would Prefer You Not Wear A Bra To Work
- Vito Lopez's Pervy-ness Cost Taxpayers $103,000 -- Thanks To Shelly Silver
- Gloria Allred, NOW Have Shelly Silver In Sights Over Hush Money
- Here's The Letter Shelly Silver Sent Assemblyman Vito Lopez
It should be noted that the AG's Office -- in addition to Silver and Lopez -- also is in the hot seat for the settlement, primarily because just after it was reached, Lopez harassed at least two more victims.
To cover its ass, the AG's office issued the following explanation to accompany the series of emails:
Staff counsel to the Assembly contacted an attorney in this office with expertise in employment law for an informal consultation, in which discussions relating to the mediation of employment disputes took place. Subsequently, the OAG attorney received unsolicited drafts of a settlement agreement, made one recommendation clarifying that the Assembly was the employer, and provided a model pre-litigation settlement agreement, which included neither a confidentiality agreement nor any monetary terms. At that point on May 30, all communications between the Assembly staff counsel and the OAG attorney on this matter ceased. A final version of the Assembly's agreement was not provided to the OAG attorney. Finally, the Office of the Attorney General did not represent the Assembly in its internal employment dispute, and had no role in approving, negotiating or authorizing any settlement reached by the Assembly.
In an effort to ensure transparency and to provide the public with a complete understanding of our informal role in this matter, we are releasing all written communications between staff counsel to the Assembly and the OAG attorney to the press and to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics.
So, without further ado, here are the emails detailing how to properly sweep a political sex scandal under the rug: