Democratic politicians have begun calling for the leader of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez, to resign in the wake of allegations that he verbally harassed, groped and kissed two of his staff members over the summer.
After preliminary investigations by the Assembly’s ethics committee found the accusations credible, calls for Lopez’s resignation began to surface beginning with several of New York’s top Democratic leaders last Friday, including City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Public Advocate Bill de Blasio; Representative Jerrold Nadler; and Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. The following day, Saturday, Senator Charles E. Schumer expressed his opinion that Lopez quit, and finally, on Sunday Governor Andrew M. Cuomo joined his voice in the demand for Lopez to resign.
“Sexual harassment at the workplace cannot be tolerated in any shape or form,” Mr. Cuomo’s spokesman, Josh Vlasto, said in a statement. “These are serious allegations and if true, the governor believes he should resign.”
Gerald B. Lefcourt, the lawyer representing Lopez, contended that the investigation of the Assembly was “lawless,” and vehemently denied his clients guilt. Lefcourt refused to comment on Governor Cuomo’s statement. Lopez has been a dealmaker and has exerted much influence on New York politics ever since he was elected to the Assembly in 1984.