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Lopez resigns, will still seek council seat

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Embattled Williamsburg and Bushwick Assemblyman Vito Lopez has resigned from the Assembly, but he still plans on running for the City Council later this year.

Lopez (D–Williamsbu­rg), who has been wracked by a sexual harassment scandal, resigned effective 9 am on Monday after submitting a terse, one-sentence letter to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Shilver (D–Manhatan).

A report from the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics outlines in cringe-worthy detail a litany of accusations from young, female staffers which are turning off even Lopez’s most reliable supporters.

Lopez protege Councilman Steve Levin stuck a fork in his relationship with his former protege, saying that the report “shocked and saddened” him.

“The findings detail behavior that is disturbing, indefensible and constitutes a breach of the public trust,” said Levin. “Due to the circumstances, I think it is the best thing for everyone concerned that he voluntarily step down.”

Levin also condemned Lopez’s plan to run for the council.

“I will not be supporting Vito Lopez’s candidacy for City Council and I don’t think his running is the right thing to do,” Levin said.

Williamsburg District Leader Chris Olechowski, who was also previously backed by Lopez, said he wants to get the message to the former borough Dem boss that he is persona non grata.

“He should understand by now that this city doesn’t want him in politics,” said Olechowski. “He wouldn’t be helping anyone here by running for city council. He’s going to be an awkward embarrassment to anyone he works with.”

Brooklyn Heights district leader Jo Anne Simon agreed, saying that the 71-year-old is a danger to women.

“No one should support him for election to the city council or any other office,” she said.

Not everyone is demonizing Lopez though.

Simon Weiser, a member of Community Board 1 and an organizer in the Williamsburg Hasidic community, said Lopez should be judged on his decades-long record of helping Brooklyn communities.

“For such a politician with rich accomplishments to his life, creating housing and educating the poor, to see him go down like this, it bothers me,” said Weiser.

Weiser and Olechowski both said that, despite all the scandal, Lopez still has a good chance of winning the city council election.

“He’s got a strong constituent base who have committed themselves to him for many years,” said Olechowski. “It’s unfortunate that those people are still willing to campaign for him.”

Lopez is running against Antonio Reynoso, former chief of staff of the term-limited incumbent, Diana Reyna (D–Williamsbu­rg).

On Friday, Silver submitted a resolution asking the Assembly Standing Committee on Ethics and Guidance to review the report and consider punishments ranging from sanctions to expulsion, which may have pushed Lopez to resign.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 1:47 pm, May 20, 2013: Story updated to reflect the fact that Lopez resigned.
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Reasonable discourse

Republican says:
Vito will win. His people love him. As long as you are giving people stuff they will forgive you for everything else.
May 18, 2013, 6:10 am
jay from nyc says:
if this guy is grabbing women as has been reported how is he NOT in jail?
May 18, 2013, 5:05 pm
Mike from Greenpoint says:
How long before he's joined by his crooked BFF Martin Malave Dilan?
May 18, 2013, 5:20 pm
jake from winsdor terrace says:
Don't get people saying it's outrageous for him to run...just don't vote for him.
May 18, 2013, 9:59 pm
The Mashgiach from Williamsburg says:
Is it so Mr. Weiser "it bothers me", so you support molesters of all races, I think you and the UJO should also be investigated of what deals were made to support Vito and his cronies.

BTW on who's payroll are you.

"accomlished in his life" a old racist and anti semit from the early 70s to the late 2010 until he went to bed with Niederman.

Steve Levin should be on the stand under oath letting the world know what he knew and when, this weisel was on full payroll while running for office in 2008 didn't miss and hour, if you believe it or was it hush money.

As for Vito, Clearance Norman has an empty cell next to him waiting for you.
May 18, 2013, 10:27 pm
Marie from 11222 says:
Don't underestimate how many local non profits that are beholden to Vito. Their silence speaks volumes. The silver spooned handouts are going to be difficult to cut themselves off from. It isn't just oldsters either. Watch closely at which groups say nothing.
May 19, 2013, 7:52 am
Ed from Staten Island says:
Hynes daughter was on Vito' staff. I guess Vito kept his hands off her.
May 19, 2013, 2:35 pm
The Mashgiach from Williamsburg says:
Ed you you are correct, Hynes daughter was on Vito's staff and maybe Hynes was on Vito's payroll.

Hey Steve Cohen, Danial Squadron, Mike Bloomberg, Dilan, Dilan where are these guys that they are so silent.

The soup nazi nanny has nothing to say WOW
May 19, 2013, 8:32 pm
joey from clinton hills says:
I'll give money to his campaign if he lets me rub his lucky tumor!
May 20, 2013, 8:40 am
dont vote from him says:
Don't vote for him and that is it
May 20, 2013, 9:21 am
Shaul Perlstein from Williamsburg says:
I don't care about what he did to girls, Vito was the best thing that the Satmar Zalmanites ever had, he did everything we wanted, He took every single bribe we gave him and his girlfriend Angela Battaglia, not a day went by that he didn't make a threatening call on our behalf, what a Loss! oy vey !
May 20, 2013, 11:42 am
44 Year's In Bushwick from Bushwick says:
Reporter Danielle Furfaro.....Really? What Kind Of Reporter Fail's To Mention That There Are Other Candidate's Running To Represent Council District 34.
This Is The Problem With These Web Site's That Pass Themselves Off As A Impartial News Agency. All Of You Should Have Your Credential's Pulled...
Stop Selling The Bushwick, Williamsburg Communities To Your Lame Reader's....
May 21, 2013, 11:38 pm

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