Dan Donovan Tag All blog entries tagged as Dan Donovan http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/latest Mon, 14 Jul 2014 03:27:50 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Under Pressure, Silver Moves to Expel Lopez http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/05/17/under-pressure-silver-moves-to-expel-lopez- http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/05/17/under-pressure-silver-moves-to-expel-lopez-

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has faced a chorus of calls for his resignation for his handling of the Assemblyman Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal. Editorial boards, good government groups and Republican legislators have either demanded Silver step down or hold a leadership vote in the Assembly. A broader chorus is calling for Lopez's resignation.

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Silver seems to be paying attention as his spokesman Michael Wyland issued a statement tonight saying that Silver, "intends to draft and introduce a resolution tomorrow, to be voted on Monday, to ask the Ethics & Guidance Committee to consider the full JCOPE report and to recommend appropriate sanctions including expulsion of Assemblymember Lopez."

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Silver has called for Lopez to step down several times.

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Earlier today Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters that if Lopez continues to refuse to resign, "I think the body should expel him. I think they should make a statement that says we do not tolerate this in our house."

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Cuomo defended Silver. "I don’t see any comparison between what Vito Lopez and what Shelly Silver did,” Cuomo said. “There is a magnitude of difference," Cuomo said.

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Silver already stripped Lopez of his seniority, committee posts, and has restricted his ability to have interns, so expulsion would seem to be the last remaining option to further punish Lopez in his current position. Lopez is already looking to get out of town permanently as he is running for City Council.

Whyland says in the statement that he expects Silver's resolution to move quickly, "Given that an exhaustive investigation has already occurred by two public agencies."

Reports by special investigator Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan and the Joint Commission on Public Ethics detailed Lopez's persistent and vile harassment of four female staffers.

Stories include Lopez asking for the staffers to rub his tumors, kiss him, share a hotel room with him, write him letters, wear more revealing clothing.

Perhaps the most revolting incident involves Lopez demanding a woman massage his hand during a car ride. When the women told Lopez she was made uncomfortable by the situation because she had been raped in college, Lopez asked if she felt guilty because she hadn't pressed charges against her accuser and told her to continue massaging his hand while she cried.

According to JCOPE's report, after receiving two initial complaints against Lopez, Silver's staff placed two of Lopez's staffers in other positions in the Assembly. That allowed Lopez to hire two more women who later charged him with harassment. The second set of women filed complaints the day that Lopez finished settlement mandated sexual harassment training. Silver's staff kept the initial settlement secret and JCOPE's investigation seems to document that Silver's staff did so to avoid a scandal. So much for that idea.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Fri, 17 May 2013 03:59:56 +0000
Cuomo's First Salvo Against Public Corruption http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/09/cuomos-first-salvo-against-public-corruption http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.php/the-eye-opener/entry/state/2013/04/09/cuomos-first-salvo-against-public-corruption

Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired the first salvo today in what he says will be an ongoing campaign against public corruption.

Cuomo was joined by a number of county district attorneys at a press conference at his Manhattan office today where he announced a push to create a "Public Trust Act" that would increase penalties for existing public corruption laws and establish three new criminal acts: bribing a public official, scheming to corrupt the government and failing to report corruption.

Legislators convicted of corruption charges would be banned from holding office and would not be able to do business with the state.

"The public expects honesty," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said at the press conference, "and it's time our laws caught up with reality."

Asked by reporters why his proposal didn't include giving more power to the attorney general to investigate corruption, Cuomo said that today's announcement was "step one."

"We'll be looking at other areas going forward," said the governor, who in recent days has faced criticism for not doing enough to protect public integrity.

It bears mentioning, however, that Cuomo has had an odd relationship with Attorney General Eric Schniderman, who bested Richmond County District Attorney Dan Donovan for the position. The Republican district attorney was at the press conference touting the new laws; Schneiderman was not.

Cuomo says he also wants to address campaign finance reform.

Cuomo said he expects the Legislature to pass the Public Trust Act this year. "Legislatures often respond to what people want and I think over the last few weeks they have gotten a lot of information about corruption," Cuomo said. But he added that he hasn't gone over his reform agenda with state lawmakers.

Two unrelated corruption cases against state lawmakers were made public last week. Both were brought by U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, who has owned legislative corruption cases in Albany as state and local officials moved slowly to react.

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dking@gothamgazette.com (David Howard King) State Tue, 09 Apr 2013 17:21:18 +0000