Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, dismissed a report Wednesday on an email containing allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a staff member, calling it “nonsense.”
A February 2012 email—sent by the attorney for two women who accused now-former Assemblyman Vito Lopez of sexual harassment—expressed concern that Assembly leadership “didn’t fully investigate the allegations or take any corrective action in response,” the Daily News reported Wednesday. The email was not included in a report last month from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which was critical of Lopez and Silver.
The email, sent from attorney Mariann Wang to Assembly attorney William Collins, also says Lopez—who resigned last month—“repeatedly” mentioned to one of the accusers that “he wanted their relationship to be the same as Mr. Silver’s Chief of Staff, and was explicit in what he meant.”
When asked about the Daily News report as he walked into his office Wednesday, Silver said: “There’s nothing to talk about. It’s nonsense.”
Silver has apologized for botching the handling of the complaints and not immediately referring them to the Assembly Ethics Committee. In testimony to the state ethics board, he and Assembly counsel said they believed they were acting on the wishes of the accusers by engaging in confidential settlement talks and not referring the complaints for investigation.
Silver’s chief of staff, Judy Rapfogel, said the comments in the email were ““absurd and insulting to all women,” according to the Daily News.
A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday found 51 percent of New York voters want Silver to step down as speaker.
(AP file photo)