Mark-Viverito Awards Chairmanship to Councilman Accused of Sexually Harassing Staffer

Melissa Mark-Viverito made Andy King, who allegedly made advances toward at least one staffer, chairman of the Committee on Libraries.

Councilman Andrew King (Photo: Facebook).
Councilman Andrew King (Photo: Facebook). Councilman Andy King/Facebook

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has appointed Bronx Councilman Andy King—the subject of a $1.25 million sexual harassment and wrongful dismissal claim against the city—chairman of the Committee on Libraries.

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Ms. Mark-Viverito, an outspoken feminist and advocate for women’s issues, picked Mr. King to replace Queens Councilman Costa Constantinides as part of a re-shuffling to fill a vacancy left by former Councilman Mark Weprin, who left office to work for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Mr. Weprin’s post chairing the influential Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will be taken over by Councilman Donovan Richards, enabling Mr. Constantinides to take over Mr. Richards’ former chairmanship of the Committee on Environmental Protection. That left Mr. Constantinides’ spot atop the library committee open for Mr. King.

The new position will grant the Bronx legislator an $8,000 bonus—known in the Council as a “lulu”—on top of his regular $112,500 salary, and give him access to roughly one dozen new staffers.

The claim lodged with Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, first reported by Capital New York, alleges Mr. King made untoward comments and advances and created a “hostile work environment” for a staffer of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, which he currently co-chairs. The staffer’s complaint also alleges that she was not the sole recipient of unwanted sexual attention from the lawmaker.

The claim asserts that when she rebuffed his advances, Mr. King had her fired—without a full caucus vote, which the Council by-laws require.

A Council source, however, noted that the ex-staffer has yet to file an actual lawsuit against the councilman or the city.

Mr. King’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the allegations, though his office did tout his new appointment in a statement.

“I am a Bronx native who grew up going to the New York Public Library and it has helped to make me who I am today. I promise I will remain committed to ensuring our libraries remain the beacons of light they have been for over a century,” Mr. King said.

Bronx sources told the Observer that he has denied the accusations in private conversations with other politicians from the borough.

Ms. Mark-Viverito’s office declined to comment.

Mark-Viverito Awards Chairmanship to Councilman Accused of Sexually Harassing Staffer