District Leader Lincoln Restler, one of the most aggressive critics of Assemblyman Vito Lopez and his control of the Brooklyn Democratic Party, has jumped at the news of the sexual harassment allegations leveled against Mr. Lopez and has called on him to step down from the county organization.
“Given the severity of these allegations, which the New York Assembly has called ‘credible,’ Vito Lopez should immediately resign as Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman,” Mr. Restler said in a statement. “I hope all responsible elected officials in Brooklyn will join me in calling for this action. It is clear we need a full and comprehensive investigation into whether this was a regular pattern of behavior in Vito Lopez’s office.“
(Of course, Mr. Restler, who has called Mr. Lopez “corrupt,” probably didn’t feel he was fit to run the county organization even before this news emerged.)
Mr. Restler is currently in a tough reelection battle against the Lopez-backed candidacy of Chris Olechowski, a community board chairman in Greenpoint. He won by only 121 votes last time and this year’s campaign is likely to be close as well.
Also of note is that Mr. Lopez lost his chairmanship of the Assembly Housing Committee, which contributed to some of his political influence, including in various parts of Mr. Restler’s district as well other competitive races. Whether or not this news will influence any votes before the fast-approaching September 13th primary date is unclear, as is the future Mr. Lopez’s tenure atop Kings County Democratic politics.
Mr. Lopez is notoriously press-shy, but reporters are sure to be on his tail and he may end up commenting at point in the near future as the result.