NYS Dem Assemblywoman Calls For Shelly Silver To Resign


shellyA Democratic assemblywoman on Wednesday called for powerful Speaker Sheldon Silver to resign his leadership position for his role in a secret settlement to end harassment claims against a now-former assemblyman.

Democratic Assemblywoman Inez Barron accused Silver of “egregious behavior” in crafting the $103,000 settlement using public money to silence the first accusations against veteran Assemblyman Vito Lopez. Barron’s accusation was a potentially critical step against Silver’s leadership because it was the first from a Democratic woman since the scandal heated up earlier this month.

Barron called for Silver to resign the leadership post he’s held for 19 years came hours after several Republicans called for criminal investigations of Silver to end what they called “Silver’s war on women.” They said two previous investigations were limited to avoid a close look at Silver’s role in handling sexual harassment complaints against Lopez, a Brooklyn Democrat.

Barron called Silver’s actions “an unacceptable attempt to cover up the allegations” by two of Lopez’s former staff workers. “I call upon you to step down from your position as speaker … you jeopardized the safety of and respect for female employees.”

Silver had said he kept the cash settlement secret at the request of the Lopez’s accusers. But attorneys for the women denied they sought a confidentiality clause, which carried a $10,000 penalty if it was violated.

Silver dismissed the calls for his resignation Wednesday.

“None of them every voted for me, so it’s insignificant,” Silver said. “None of them ever supported me, none of them ever wanted me to be speaker, so nothing is new.”

Asked if he felt confident in his leadership position, Silver simply said: “Yes.”

Barron and the Republicans each argued Silver needed to go because the Lopez case is just the most recent of a string of cases in the Assembly in which men in powerful positions intimidated, harassed or hurt female staffers. In 2003, Silver had first defended his counsel at the time, Michael J. Boxley, against an accusation that Boxley assaulted a female staffer in June 2003. Boxley later pleaded guilty to misconduct and resigned. He now is a lobbyist in Albany.

Assembly Republicans want Silver investigated for possible fraud for categorizing the settlement as legal services and to reimburse the state for the settlement.

“The Assembly Democrats need to remove Silver or explain why they still stand with him,” said Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor, a Dutchess County Republican. He and six other Republicans on Wednesday said Democrats are afraid of crossing Silver, who they described as a bully with the power of determining staffing, perks and political challenges.

“Your government should protect and defend you from such horrific violations,” said Assemblyman Bill Nojay, a Monroe County Republican.

On May 20, Lopez resigned over claims of serial harassment of female staffers. The resignation was effective the day Silver was scheduled to try to expel Lopez from the Assembly, although Lopez hasn’t been convicted of any crimes and denies harassing anyone.

But both reports also cited failures and mistakes by Silver and his top staffers in a settlement that was reviewed by staffers from the Attorney General’s Office and state Comptroller’s Office.

Another Democrat, Assemblyman Michael Kearns of West Seneca, had previously demanded Silver resign his leadership post. Kearns left the Democratic conference in protest. He had long been a critic of Silver and last year won election on the Republican line.



  1. “None of them ever voted for me, so it’s insignificant,” Silver said. “None of them ever supported me, none of them ever wanted me to be speaker, so nothing is new.”

    Sounds like the walking/talking Chillul Hashem took a page out of Mitt Romneys (47%) playbook. What arrogance!