ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The state Assembly has entered into two contracts worth $205,000 for an outside counsel to handle sexual harassment policy development and investigations after a high-profile scandal.
The state comptroller’s office says Tuesday the approval is for contracts with Rossein Associates. A spokesman for Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says the firm was retained by the Ethics Committee as part of reforms announced in May.
Merrick Rossein is a law professor at the City University of New York Law School at Queens College.
Silver faced harsh criticism last year for a $103,000 settlement using public money to silence the first accusations against veteran Assemblyman Vito Lopez, D-Brooklyn. Lopez resigned and has denied the accusations.
The episode threatened Silver’s leadership role, which he’s held since 1994. Silver has admitted he made a mistake, apologized and has pushed for reforms.
The state Legislative Ethics Commission fined Lopez $330,000, thought to be the largest fine in Albany history. The panel found at least 33 “inappropriate actions,”“offensive comments of a sexual nature” and “unwanted physical contact” against at least four women while he was an assemblyman and powerful Brooklyn political leader.
After resigning from the Assembly, Lopez ran for a City Council seat, but was defeated in the Democratic primary.
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories
- Hidden Hospital Costs Leave Some Patients With Sticker Shock
- Ceiling Collapse In Bronx Public Housing Leaves Toddler Covered In Debris, Family Furious
- Suspect Arrested In 2012 Murder Of 89-Year-Old Man Found Handcuffed Inside Corona Home
- Exclusive Video: Man Rips ATM From Queens Gas Station, Loads It Into Vehicle
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)