Aponte Says Senate Will Stay Locked Down

ALBANY—The man with the keys, Angelo Aponte, says he is not going anywhere and is not backing down.

"I have no intention to resign," Aponte told me and the Daily News' Glenn Blain during a chance encounter in a Capitol corridor. "The doors will remain locked, and there is only one person who will call everybody back into session and that is Malcolm Smith."

Aponte was going to meet with the Senate Democrats top lawyers to work on a suit they "plan to" file tomorrow in Albany County Supreme Court. I asked if filing the suit would be something of an admission that negotiations to bring one or two wayward senators–Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada Jr.–back into the Democratic conference had failed.

"I can't speculate on what the results are. We're attempting to work back to maintain a majority, but we had an agenda for the state that we wanted to carry out, and it's ironic at a point where we were trying to carry out ethics and full disclosure that all of a sudden. It just boggles the imagination."

Austin Shafran, the Democratic spokesman, chimed in: "The lawsuit is the filing of a legal instrument to make sure that the rules that were established by a majority of the senators in January 2009 are followed through."

This is, in the six months he's been on the job, the most I've ever heard Aponte say on-the-record to a reporter. On Monday, after Republicans swore in Espada Jr. as president pro temp and State Senator Dean Skelos as majority leader, Aponte said: "No comment. Clear the floor."

On Tuesday, Republicans were calling for his head. Lawyers for both parties acknowledge that he was appointed for a two-year term and cannot be fired. Aponte Says Senate Will Stay Locked Down