Bronx Councilman Andy King, a Democrat, has been accused of paying “unwelcome attention” to a female City Council employee, the Council’s Committee on Ethics and Standards revealed on Wednesday morning.
The staffer alleged that King paid “unwelcome attention” to her, repeatedly asking her to smile more while shaking her hand and keeping an extended grip on her hand until she smiled, according to Staten Island Councilman Steven Matteo, who heads the committee.
On another occasion, after a committee hearing, King asked the staff for her personal number so he could invite her to a winter ball fundraising gala, Matteo continued. King allegedly told her he would “like to see her in a beautiful gown” at the event.
“Upon reviewing the allegations, the committee unanimously voted to open the matter and direct committee staff to conduct a preliminary inquiry and prepare a report for the committee,” he said during the committee meeting. “Today, the committee reviewed the report and after deliberation, decided to schedule another meeting where the committee will hear additional information relevant to this matter.”
In December 2017, the committee held a hearing in which it ordered an internal investigation into the matter but did not say who it was investigating. But reports at the time indicated the committee was investigating King. At the time, King told The New York Times he was unaware of the proceedings and would not say whether he committed the act.
If a member engages in disorderly behavior, the Council could take away the member’s committee assignments, reprimand or censure the member, issue a fine or expel them, according to Council rules.
King has been accused of inappropriate behavior before.
In April 2015, a staffer of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus filed a notice of claim for a $1.25 million lawsuit against the city, claiming King made inappropriate comments and advances toward her and created a “hostile work environment.” She alleged he tried to change caucus rules so he could be empowered to hire and fire staffers himself.