Buffalo assemblyman is first Dem to urge Silver to resign

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Assembly staff quickly removed the nameplate Monday from

Assembly staff quickly removed the nameplate Monday from the desk of resigning assemblyman, Vito Lopez, a Democrat who represented Brooklyn, as soon as his resignation became official. (May 20, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Yancey Roy

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Assemb. Michael P.  Kearns (D-Buffalo) said Monday that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should resign -- becoming the first Democrat to do so in the wake of a sexual harassment scandal.

 It should be noted that even though he’s a Democrat, Kearns, who is known as Mickey,  has long been a critic of Silver (D-Manhattan). Kearns won his seat in a special election over another Democrat after vowing not to be Silver's "puppet." Kearns is expected to hold a news conference Monday afternoon.

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Silver has come under fire for his handling of sexual harassment allegations against departing Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn). Silver approved a $103,000 confidential settlement in taxpayers’ money to end claims by two former staffers instead of sending the case to an ethics committee for investigation. He has since admitted he erred.

Some Republicans have called for his resignation, but Democrats have largely rallied behind Silver. Most have said Lopez has to go, Silver doesn't.

Separate criminal and civil investigations released last week outlined how Lopez, once one of the Assembly’s most powerful members, routinely groped and harassed young female staffers.

A criminal prosecutor said although Lopez’ behavior was “alarming,” no “chargeable crime” occurred. But the state ethics commission concluded that Lopez’ conduct violated the New York Public Officers Law. That prompted Silver last week to announce he would begin procedures this week to banish Lopez from the chamber.

 Faced with expulsion, Lopez announced Saturday he would resign, effective Monday.

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