11:38 am Sep. 4, 2012
At yesterday's West Indian-American Labor Day parade, I tried talking to state lawmakers about the ever-messier Vito Lopez-Sheldon Silver situation.
Some literally speed-walked away from me. Others, like Assemblyman Nick Perry of East Flatbush, said, in Silver's defense, that the Assembly speaker had admitted he was wrong to keep quiet the $100,000 payout to Lopez's alleged sexual harassment victims that he authorized.
When I asked Perry how he felt about the role the attorney general and comptroller played in the matter—staffers in each office were consulted by the Assembly before the settlement was approved—he said, "History is replete with leaders erring in how they deal with situations affecting people on their team and miscalculations as to the enormity of the mistakes and I think that maybe if you put everything together, it appears that people who were making decisions then focused on the wrong item of importance.
"It should not have been Vito Lopez. I think it's quite clear now it should have been the concern about transparency and appropriately bringing people to accountability where they have made serious errors in their behavior that reflects on the whole body that they serve."
I asked whether that meant he believed the attorney general and comptroller had made errors in the advice they provided Silver's office.
Perry said, "Well, you know, it would have been good if somebody involved in the chain of events had said to Shelly, 'You know, I don't think this is the way we should deal with this.' That's what I think was missing. That would have made a whole big difference as to what we are dealing with today."