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GOP Lawmaker Blasts Taxpayer-Funded Defense For Speaker Silver

Silver Has Been Criticized For Secret Settlement With Ex-Assemblyman Lopez
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (credit: Daniel Barry/Getty Images)/Vito Lopez (credit: CBS 2)

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (credit: Daniel Barry/Getty Images)/Vito Lopez (credit: CBS 2)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A taxpayer-funded defense for New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) is not sitting well with one fellow lawmaker.

“I was completely outraged,” said Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island.)

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Malliotakis said Silver’s choice to use a secret payout in handling the first sexual harassment claim against now ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez, instead of referring the matter to the Ethics Commission, was Silver’s own choice that had consequences.

“If we have rules in the State Assembly, they should be followed,” Malliotakis said. “And if they’re not followed we should not be using taxpayer money to defend the person who is breaking these rules.”

Lopez resigned in May. He faces civil charges recommended amid multiple harassment allegations.

Silver has admitted mistakes in handling the secret settlement, made an extraordinary apology and is proposing more changes in the handling of sexual harassment complaints in the Assembly.

Lopez paid $32,000 on top of the $103,000 of public money in the settlement crafted by Silver for the first women who accused Lopez of groping, sexual harassment, and retaliation when they refused him.

Since then, two other women have sued Lopez on sexual harassment allegations, and have also named Silver as a defendant.

The women, Victoria Burhans and Chloe Rivera, claimed Silver and his staff made no attempt to investigate Lopez or to try to protect the women on Lopez’s staff.

Malliotakis said as a result of the legal issues, taxpayers could be stuck with a six-figure bill.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)