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Former female staffers of shamed Assemblyman Vito Lopez are coming out of the woodwork to give accounts of what it’s like working for the now former chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.
Here’s the gist of their accounts: Lopez likes short skirts, “well endowed” women, and — apparently channeling his inner-Ron Burgundy — would prefer you not wear a bra when you come to work.
In other words — according to the staffers — Lopez suffers from what is clinically known as “Dirty Old Man Syndrome.”
Lopez, 71, also has a bit of a temper, which further terrified many of his young, female staffers.
Further reading on Lopez’s pervy-ness:
The New York Times tracked down five former staffers of Lopez’s, all female, all young, and all equally disgusted with the conditions in which they had to work while employed by Lopez.
From the Times:
One of the women, Stephanie M. Friot, spoke on the record, while the
other four spoke on the condition their names not be used. Ms. Friot,
28, said that Mr. Lopez never directly harassed her but that “there was a
certain culture where behaviors like that were permissible.”
Another woman described “an atmosphere of intimidation,” an environment
where she and other former staff members said Mr. Lopez veered between
crude jokes and fierce tirades.
“He would comment on a shirt I was wearing and say ‘I’d like it better
if you didn’t have a bra on,’ ” said one of the former staff members.
“That was something he brought up quite a bit.”
Lopez, as we’ve reported, was officially scolded by the Assembly Ethics Committee last week for sexually harassing two female staffers. It was later revealed that this was at least the second time sexual misconduct complaints were filed against Lopez, and two previous incidents were secretly settled by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who OK’d $130,000 in taxpayer money to silence the two victims. Silver, too, is now in the hot seat.
The five former staffers go on to tell the Times that Lopez “doesn’t hire ugly girls,” and one says he asked her to accompany him on overnight trips.
“Nobody knew how to react, and when he was gone, everyone would talk
about it and say, ‘This is outrageous,’ ” one of the women told the paper. “People
would try to ignore it and try to go along a little with it because he
was so threatening.”
The women say they feared quitting or complaining because of how powerful Lopez was within state government — if they left, they were concerned he would use his influence to make it hard for them to find another job.
Lopez, of course, denies all the allegations — claiming it’s some sort of political witch hunt.
His office has ignored several requests for comment.