2:17 pm Aug. 28, 2012
As other elected officials called for the head of Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg stayed out of it.
"You know, it's up to the Albany legislature to investigate and to decide what someone should do," said the mayor on Tuesday, when asked if he had any reaction to the allegations that Lopez sexually harassed young women in his office, and whether he thought Lopez should, as a consequence, resign. "I don't know. There's been allegations, but you'll have to talk to Albany."
Lopez released a statement this afternoon announcing that he would step down as county chair but would keep his seat in the Assembly.
Bloomberg and Lopez, the Assembly's housing chair, have a long history.
Lopez supported Bloomberg's effort to overturn term limits, and the mayor has taken part in Lopez-sponsored events.
But the city's Department of Investigations has also investigated Lopez's social services empire.
The mayor wouldn't say whether he thought it was appropriate for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to have secretly used Assembly money to settle a prior sexual harassment claim against Lopez..
"I just don't know what the laws are in Albany, and what their procedures are," Bloomberg said, during a press conference at a revamped probation center in the Bronx. "In New York City, that would not be possible, because when we make a settlement, it has to be approved by the comptroller. When we write a check, it has to be approved by the comptroller. And I think, without taking a shot at anybody, the likelihood of that staying quiet is zero, ok? Does that answer your question?"
It didn't. The reporter asked, legality aside, whether he thought it was an appropriate course of action for Silver to take.
"You'd have to talk to Albany," said the mayor. "I shouldn't be criticizing ... I'm trying to worry about what's right for New York City and what we do, and not getting involved."
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