5:45 am Sep. 4, 2012
Andrew Cuomo stuck to a tight script yesterday when asked about Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's quiet settlement of sexual harassment claims against Assemblyman Vito Lopez, which entailed having a $100,000 payout approved by staffers in the comptroller's and attorney general's offices.
Cuomo, surrounded by reporters at the end of the West Indian Labor Day Parade on Eastern Parkway, repeatedly declined to state an opinion on the matter, noting that there is an investigation by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics getting underway, and a criminal investigation by the Staten Island district attorney.
I asked Cuomo, who served as the state's attorney general from 2006 to 2010, how he would handle requests for sexual harassment-related settlements from the legislature.
"I'd rather let the investigation conclude then give you my opinion during the investigation," he said, "because that question is one of the questions that I believe is going to be pursued."
Asked about Silver's role in leading the New York delegation at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week, Cuomo said, "There are a number of senior Democrats who are there and everybody has a role."
Earlier at the parade, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn told reporters marching alongside her, "The speaker needs to continue to do his work as that investigation moves forward and he has been asked to play this role and I support him and I support him continuing to play this role."