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More details on Lopez sexual harassment settlement
Below are a few more of the details from a draft settlement between the state Assembly and the women who accused Assemb. Vito Lopez (D-Brooklyn) of sexual harassment. As mentioned in a blog post last night, lawyers for the women initially sought $1.2 million but accepted $135,000. Other notes:
- The women, former Lopez staffers, would pay at least $10,000 each if they broke confidentiality. In the first draft of the settlement, the penalty for breaking the confidentiality agreement was half that. In addition, the two former Lopez staffers could be hit with similar penalties from the Assembly for talking about it, or even just calling Lopez a bad boss. The gag order would be lifted in response to a subpoena — the state ethics commission, which has subpoena power, is meeting about the scandal next week — or a court order.
- The lawyers would receive about 40 percent of the payout. One of the attorneys is Gloria Allred, a well-known sexual harassment litigator who has represented, among others, some of the women involved in the Tiger Woods scandal.
- One of the victims would receive $60,786; the other $20,262. Both would resign.
- Lopez would agree to take sexual harassment training within 90 days.
- Assembly attorneys ran drafts by officials at the state Attorney General’s office and state Comptroller’s office. In one email exchange, the AG’s office suggests some minor changes and provides a sample pre-litigation agreement. A comptroller’s official is copied in to the exchange.
[Spokesmen for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli have said lower-level workers were involved. Schneiderman’s office has said it provided informal consultation about the structure of the agreement. DiNapoli’s office said it provided no opinion on the merits of the settlement.]