Vito Lopez associate pleads guilty in contempt case

Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) Photo Credit: Bryan Pace, 2001

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The former head of a Brooklyn nonprofit founded by scandal-plagued Assemb. Vito Lopez pleaded guilty Thursday to sending out false documents relating to her salary in response to a federal grand jury subpoena.

Christiana Fisher, 57, the onetime executive director of the Ridgewood-Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, faces up to 6 months in prison for contempt.

She admitted providing misleading information to investigators about the nonprofit board's approval of her compensation that, according to the charity's tax filings, topped $600,000. She also agreed to forfeit $170,659.

Fisher has worked at the Senior Citizens Council for more than 30 years, and is a longtime friend and confidante of Lopez, who has been under scrutiny this year over secret settlements the Assembly paid to aides who accused him of sexual groping.

But the federal investigation of the finances of the nonprofit predated the Assembly scandal, and Fisher did not agree to cooperate with the government as part of her misdemeanor plea, her attorney said.

"This has nothing to do with Vito; this has only to do with Chris," said Fisher's attorney, Douglas Grover. "For someone who led a life of helping elderly people for many years, it's a difficult and sad day."

Fisher's sentencing was set for April 17.

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