Vito Lopez explores possible City Council run

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

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ALBANY -- Embattled Assemb. Vito Lopez created a campaign committee Thursday to possibly run for New York City Council, state Board of Elections records show.

Lopez (D-Brooklyn) is being investigated by the Staten Island district attorney and state legislative ethics committees over sexual harassment allegations by four women. He's rebuffed calls from dozens of fellow politicians, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, and activists to resign his Assembly seat.

Last week, Lopez, 71, a cancer survivor who said he recently recovered from pneumonia, told reporters at the State Capitol that traveling to and from Albany was difficult for him. Lopez, who has served in the Assembly since 1985, is considered a potential contender for the seat being vacated by Councilwoman Diana Reyna because of term limits.

Base salary for City Council is $112,500, compared with $79,500 for the State Legislature, a part-time position.

A spokesman for Lopez had no immediate comment.

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Reyna's chief of staff, Antonio Reynoso, is one of several candidates for the seat.

Lopez registered the new campaign committee, dubbed Vito Lopez for City Council, Thursday. Andy Marte is listed as treasurer, according to the Board of Elections.

The Lopez scandal broke last summer when a state ethics panel censured him, determining he sexually harassed two employees. Since then, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) disclosed that previous claims against Lopez had been settled in a confidential agreement that included $103,000 in public funds. Those previous claims are central to the current investigations.

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Lopez relinquished his position as the chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party. He was stripped of his post as chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee.

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