11:24 am Aug. 30, 2012
Before the Assembly issued a $103,080 payment to settle a sexual harassment case against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's office was in touch with a lawyer in the attorney general's office about it.
Silver's spokesman described the contact as "informal conversations."
I asked a spokesman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office, James Freedland, for a comment about it.
He said they were never presented with a final version of the much-criticized settlement that was ultimately signed by Lopez and the complainants.
“Staff counsel to the Assembly contacted an attorney in this office with expertise in employment law for an informal consultation, in which discussions relating to the mediation of employment disputes took place. Subsequently, the OAG attorney received unsolicited drafts of a settlement agreement, made one recommendation clarifying that the Assembly was the employer, and provided a model pre-litigation settlement agreement, which included neither a confidentiality agreement nor any monetary terms.
"A final version of the Assembly’s agreement was not provided to the OAG attorney for feedback or review. Finally, the Office of the Attorney General did not represent the Assembly in its internal employment dispute, and had no role in approving, negotiating or authorizing any settlement reached by the Assembly.”