Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
The New York State Assembly released a list of its expenditures for the year thus far, which includes the $103,080 settlement in the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case.
On top of the initial payment, the list also shows that $2,400 was also paid to a mediation company, JAMS, which Michael Whyland, spokesperson for Speaker Sheldon Silver’s office, said, “was used in relation to the settlement agreement.”
The vast majority of the expenditures, which date from January 1 of this year through September 7, are standard office-based expenses. For example, the Assembly paid over $20,000 for cell phone service and over $175,500 on internet service. Legislative office rent across the state cost tax payers nearly $4 million.
The expenditure report also brought the total amount of tax payer money spent defending the Assembly Majority Democrats’ redistricting plan to more than $335,000 since April of last year. The Manhattan-based law firm Graubard Miller represented the Assembly in lawsuits and challenges to new district lines drawn by the Majority Democrats earlier this year.
The expenditure document came as questions persist over Silver’s role in the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Brooklyn Assemblyman Lopez.
Lopez has resisted calls to resign his seat, but he is set to step down as chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party Wednesday. The county organization is set to meet at 8 p.m. on September 19 on the campus of Kingsborough Community College in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn to select Lopez’s replacement.
The frontrunner remains his former ally and protégé Frank Seddio, a former Assemblyman and judge.