Posted at: 08/30/2012 5:11 PM
| Updated at: 08/30/2012 6:02 PM
By: Bill Lambdin
ALBANY - Only after more claims of sexual harassment started to surface did the confidential settlement of 103 thousand dollars in taxpayer money get revealed.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has apologized for his initial handling of the harassment claims against powerful Assemblyman and former Brooklyn Democratic party leader Vito Lopez.
Lopez and to a lesser extent Silver have drawn condemnation from various women's and good government groups for the secretive handling of the allegations.
"Let's get the facts," Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday in response to reporters questions. "J-COPE is an independent body. It has people from the Assembly. It has people from the Senate. Let J-COPE go through, find the facts and then we'll all have the facts and we can have an opinion based on facts, which tends to be a good thing."
With a total of five different women said to have suffered unwelcome treatment from Lopez, the recently created Joint Commission on Public Ethics (J-COPE) has been brought in.
Silver did not refer allegations to that Commission, instead sanctioning secret dealings on a settlement and initially preserving seniority and perks for Assemblyman Lopez.
Senator Chuck Schumer was asked to comment. "Speaker Silver said what happened was wrong and that was the right thing to do. He's put a series of regulations in place so it won't happen again."