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Brooklyn, NY - Former Staffers Describe Vito Lopez As A Control Freak

Published on: August 30, 2012 10:04 AM
By: VIN News Staff
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File photo by AzipaybarahBrooklyn, NY - The scandal involving Assemblyman Vito Lopez is widening.

In interviews with the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/Rq2T5t) five former female staffers of Mr. Lopez told of a pervasive culture of extreme crudeness, offensive language, intimidation, verbal abuse, and inappropriate comments in Mr. Lopez’s office, where he dictated how these young women should dress, interfered in their personal lives, and told them who they should or should not date. Mr. Lopez, 71, especially became agitated if he felt his employees did not praise him sufficiently. The women were told to be “smiley and flirtatious.”

Stephanie M. Friot, a former staffer who spoke on the record, said, that his staff was largely comprised of young women. These women were afraid to quit or complain because of Mr. Lopez’s temper and the fear that he would retaliate against them and keep them from obtaining new jobs. Still, most of the women only stayed with Mr. Lopez for a period of a few months. “People are afraid to leave because his network of allies is so huge. If you leave on bad terms, no one will hire you because they are afraid of what Vito will do to them,” said one former employee.

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“Nobody knew how to react, and when he was gone, everyone would talk about it and say, ‘This is outrageous,’” another woman who requested anonymity said. “People would try to ignore it and try to go along a little with it because he was so threatening.”

Ms. Friot, who quit after she complained to Mr. Lopez that one of Mr. Lopez’s associates became overly-aggressive with her and was told to “shut your mouth,” said she was relieved the allegations finally came to light. “When I read the charges, it was kind of a relief. I was like, ‘How long is this going to happen before it was made public?’”



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Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »

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 Aug 30, 2012 at 10:00 AM LEEAVE Says:

amazing he survived all these corruption stuff for so long,,

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 Aug 30, 2012 at 02:14 PM Mandel Says:

City filed a complaint on Wednesday urging the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics to investigate embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s past conduct and look into whether his current and former staff had any knowledge of harassment. That includes Councilman Steve Levin, who served as Lopez’s chief of staff from 2006 to 2009. Good government groups want to find out what Levin knew and when he knew it, though Levin told the Post that no instances of sexual harassment occurred when he worked as Lopez’s staffer. But one political insider wonders that it’s "hard to believe that [Levin] never knew about the recent sexual harassment allegations given that Steve talks to Vito everyday and remains loyal to him even now.” JCOPE is currently investigating Lopez’s sexual harassment claims and the Assembly’s handling of a recent $103,080 taxpayer-funded settlement. Levin did not return calls requesting comment.

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