Brooklyn Democratic Party Chairman Vito Lopez, who was censured last week for sexually harassing two interns, announced today that he will “regrettably” relinquish his role as an old-school political boss, but plans to keep his position in the State Assembly. “The onslaught of character attacks has put enormous emotional pressures on my family and close friends,” he wrote in a statement. “I cannot sit by and allow that to continue. My political history has been to fight through challenges and political conflicts but, for the sake of loved ones and the Democratic Party, it is important that I take this action.”
In addition to whatever Lopez paid to settle the case, the city also put up more than $100,000 for the alleged victims. In return, the Assembly stripped the veteran power broker of his seniority and barred him from employing anyone under the age of 21. A defiant Lopez still denies the charges: “I have never sexually harassed any staff,” he repeated today, “and I hope and intend to prove in the coming months the political nature of these accusations.” We’ll be waiting.