Protest at Vito fund-raiser

Assemblyman Vito Lopez's campaign treasurer and girlfriend run a nonprofit that pays them handsomely.
The Brooklyn Paper / Aaron Greenhood

Protesters slammed Assemblyman Vito Lopez at a fund-raiser for his possible council run, claiming the fact Albany legislators have punished the powerful pol for sexual harassment is reason enough to keep him out of city politics.

The longtime Lopez critics at the New Kings Democrats and the politician’s new foes at the National Organization for Women chanted slogans including “Vito: scum, Lopez: bum” and “put him in jail, not the city council” outside of Giando on the Water, where former Brooklyn party boss held his first gathering for potential donors for his rumored run.

Activists booed guests as they walked down the long driveway to the banquet hall until police put up barricades to separate protesters from patrons.

Lopez is eying the council seat after a state ethics panel stripped him of all of the perks of Albany seniority for breaking state harassment rules by groping, attempting to kiss, and engaging in sexually charged discussions with employees. The Staten Island District Attorney is investigating the pol’s behavior to determine whether or not he violated criminal laws.

The Assemblyman did not confront the demonstrators, but released a written statement that stresses the fact he has not yet decided whether or not he will run for council, and paints the protest — which was led by longtime Lopez foe and former Williamsburg Democratic district leader Lincoln Restler — as driven by politics, not morals.

“One must wonder why all this effort, energy and resources is being utilized to stop an election challenge and not allow a discussion on important issues vital to the 34th council district,” Lopez said.

If he runs, the former Dem boss’s biggest rival will be council hopeful Antonio Reynoso, a protege of Councilwoman Diana Reyna (D–Williamsburg) — who is no ally to Lopez herself.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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