Embattled State Assemblyman Vito Lopez, who remains the target of at least two investigations into his conduct after women who worked in his state office accused him of sexual harassment, is weighing a run for the City Council. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Vito Lopez has officially registered with the New York State Board of Elections for a City Council run in his Brooklyn district. It's an area that includes Williamsburg, a neighborhood that is very much in flux.
Antonio Reynoso is one of four candidates who have registered to run for the seat, now held by Diana Reyna. The 29-year-old worked for Reyna before taking a leave of absence.
"Him throwing the ring, it's kind of holding on to that old guard, where he thinks that politics as usual is the course in this neighborhood, and it truly isn't," Reynoso said.
Reached by telephone, Lopez said that Reynoso has not accomplished a thing and has no record.
On his own possible run, Lopez said, "I am working with a coalition of individuals who are looking for an alternative for more effective City Council representation. I am opening an account for exploratory purposes. I will evaluate over the next few weeks and make a decision."
The report on Lopez's actions by the state ethics commission, or JCOPE, was due out Friday. But in a statement, JCOPE confirmed that its release has been delayed another 45 days at the request of the Staten Island District Attorney, who is conducting a criminal investigation.
Critics say the longer that taxpayer-funded report is kept out of public view, the longer Lopez can remain in his taxpayer funded state office.
"We deserve to see the findings of the JCOPE report, and I am hopeful that District Attorney [Dan] Donovan will allow for JCOPE to make those findings public in the weeks ahead," said former Brooklyn District Leader Lincoln Restler.
Restler served as Brooklyn District leader before narrowly losing to a Lopez-backed candidate in November. He said the public should be concerned about a Lopez run.
"He can get matching funds, absolutely," Restler said. "Six to one for every contribution he raises up to $175, if he's able to raise enough money from people within his district," Restler said.
Lopez has not been charged with any crime, although he has been stripped of his leadership posts in the Assembly.