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‘Grope’ payout for Lopez aides

The Brooklyn Paper
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The state is shelling out $545,000 in taxpayer money to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit brought by two one-time aides of former assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

The settlement ends the court proceedings against Lopez, who an Assembly panel said groped, tried to kiss, and made lecherous comments to the two women, Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera. Lopez is on the hook for a mere $35,000 towards the settlement.

In a statement, Burhans and Rivera said they were glad to end two years of investigation and litigation.

“We are pleased to have reached a resolution,” they wrote. “We hope our ordeal will serve as a strong reminder to New York’s legislators that they are accountable for their behavior. All women should be treated with respect and dignity, not as sex objects or as problems to be handled and silenced.”

A state ethics panel stripped Lopez of his seniority and housing committee chairmanship, in 2012 costing him thousands a year. He stepped down from his post as Brooklyn Democratic boss the following week, but he did not resign as assemblyman until 2013, ending 27 years in office. He ran a shadow campaign for Council that fall, making no public appearances, but raising money and putting his name on the ballot.

Now-indicted former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver drew flak in 2012 for secretly paying $100,000 in taxpayer cash as hush money to two other Lopez sexual harassment accusers.

In December, before the settlement, Lopez claimed to be too sick to attend a court deposition, but a New York Post report revealed he had attended the wedding of the granddaughter of a prominent Hasidic rabbi a month prior.

State officials still have to approve the settlement, the plaintiffs’ lawyer said.

Lopez and his lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Posted 1:40 pm, February 6, 2015
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
He's almost as expensive as our worthless cops.
Feb. 6, 2015, 11:19 am
Charles from Bklyn says:
We really should take a hard look at municipal liability. I do not believe the right to sue the state has a deterrent effect on government officials to refrain from bad behavior. And if this is so, why do the tax payers foot the bill for an individual's illegal conduct? A person should be allowed to sue the state in only a few specific cases. Would this be unfair? Sure. Life is unfair.
Feb. 6, 2015, 3:27 pm
Steve from Bay ridge says:
How does this "show legislators that they are accountable for their behavior?" WE, the tax payers are being held responsable for these criminals. By having tax payers pay for politicians' crimes it tells all criminal politicians "GO FOR IT!" If you get caught, the hard working people will pay for your mistakes. 90% of politicians are criminals and need to be replaced.
March 15, 2015, 12:17 pm

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