Assemblyman calls on embattled Lopez, Silver to return hush money to taxpayers; calls for investigation on Silver, DiNapoli, Schneiderman and Lopez

Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin (R,C-Melrose) today reiterated his call from last week urging either embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez of Brooklyn or Speaker Sheldon Silver of Manhattan to reimburse the taxpayers of New York State $103,000 for Mr. Lopez’s alleged despicable behavior. McLaughlin joins a list of growing bi-partisan elected officials from New York State calling on Mr. Lopez to resign and is insisting that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) conduct an immediate and full investigation into what Speaker Silver, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Scheiderman knew during the weeks and months prior to Friday, August 24.

“I’m joining Governor Cuomo in calling for an independent investigation by JCOPE. Along with Mr. Lopez, that investigation must include Speaker Silver, Comptroller DiNapoli and Attorney General Schneiderman. We need to know how this secret deal went down, how the cover up was orchestrated and to what degree they knew and obtained information about Mr. Lopez’s alleged behavior,” said McLaughlin. “Upon completion of this investigation, if these allegations and subsequent cover up are found to be true, I will immediately call for Mr. Silver to resign as Speaker of the Assembly.”

“I find it especially interesting that Attorney General Schneiderman has recently launched an investigation into Bain Capital, which is nothing more than a politically feeble diversion designed to divert attention from his involvement in this cover up.”

“Here we are, day 13, and Mr. Lopez and Mr. Silver still have not reimbursed the middle-class families and small business owners of New York State. I’m not sure how much more clear the argument needs to be: it is utterly disgusting and completely unacceptable that our tax dollars have been used to cover up sexual harassment charges by a sitting legislator. That hush money needs to be returned to the taxpayers.”

McLaughlin added that New Yorkers should know where the other $32,000 of the settlement came from, and why Mr. Lopez or Mr. Silver did not pay for the other $103,000 out of their own pockets.

“Mr. Lopez has already paid $32,000 of his own money to pay these victims in an effort to cover up his actions and silence them. Whether it came from Mr. Lopez himself, his campaign account or another source, he needs to reimburse New YorkState for the rest of the $103,000 in hush money and pay for his own alleged mistakes. If that arrangement doesn’t work, then Mr. Silver should use his own campaign account to pay for all the damage that Mr. Lopez has allegedly caused and the poor image New York State now has because of it. I don’t care which one of them writes the check as long as it’s not the taxpayers.”


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Steve McLaughlin for Assembly