Nearly a year ago, Vito Lopez lost the Assembly housing committee, then had to give up the chairmanship of Brooklyn Democratic Party. Then he was investigated and cleared of criminal charges last week after former ally and Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes kicked the case over to Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan.
The state’s ethics commission has found a substantial basis for charges that he broke the public officers’ law and released the report last week. Now Lopez is a former Assemblyman and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo won’t call a special election to replace him which would give the county party an edge in picking his Assembly successor.
Just one more matter to be cleaned up: Lopez, by virtue of his election as party district leader, remains a member of the New York State Democratic Committee of which Cuomo is de facto leader. On Wednesday, the committee is due to convene. Will it move at that time to toss out Lopez? One Lopez critic was checking the bylaws and rules to see what can be done.
So far, three other members of the committee say they had not heard of any such action on the state organization’s agenda. Executive director Rodney Capel hasn’t yet returned our messages. You’d think this would officially be the next step. And it’s a good bet they’ll move against him Wednesday, sources said under condition of anonymity.