Disgraced Councilman Andy King yet to pay $15K fine after return from suspension

New York Daily News Politics 1 week ago

More than a week after returning to work from his suspension, disgraced lawmaker Andy King has yet to pay the $15,000 fine that was part of his punishment for a wide range of ethics violations.

Now that the Bronx Dem is back, the City Council is discussing a payment plan for the fine with him, a Council spokesperson said Wednesday.

In October, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to punish King after the Council’s Ethics Committee substantiated accusations that he’d used Council resources for his stepdaughter’s Virgin Islands wedding; enabled his wife, a union big, to help run his office; and retaliated against staff who cooperated with investigators, among other charges.

The Oct. 28 resolution punishing King included broad language about the fine, requiring that a “reasonable payment schedule” be arranged between the Office of the General Counsel and King.

“Failure by Council Member King to pay according to said payment schedule may result in the disciplinary proceeding being reopened,” the resolution states.

King’s office said the councilman was unavailable for an interview Wednesday. His chief of staff did not answer a request for comment.

The day of the Council’s dramatic vote on King’s punishment, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Queens) introduced an ultimately unsuccessful amendment to expel King instead of suspend him.

“Council Member King is an unrepentant, repeat abuser who’s clearly got no intention of taking his punishment seriously and remains a clear danger to his staff and others,” Van Bramer told the Daily News. “He should be expelled.”

Council and state legislative employees outraged by King’s conduct — which included driving out three staffers who cooperated with investigators on a previous probe, in 2017, into gender-based harassment — rallied against King last week, saying the suspension hadn’t gone far enough.

They pointed to late Assemblyman Vito Lopez of Brooklyn, who never paid a steep fine for sexual harassment.

“King is refusing accountability for the harms he’s caused to Council staff, just like Vito Lopez did when Lopez refused to pay his ... fine,” said Rita Pasarell, co-founder of an anti-sexual harassment working group in Albany.

“If the City Council is serious about accountability and protecting staff, they will expel King.”

Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), who voted in favor of expelling King, voiced confidence in the Office of the General Counsel.

“While it is disappointing (that he hasn’t paid), I am very impressed with our General Counsel, who has made sure that King abided by the sanction of not going to his office” during his suspension, she said in a text message.

“I will check with the GC about the timing for payment, but the most important part is the requirement for him to pay and if he doesn’t, that opens the door back” for the Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee to take action.

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