Silver in court over use of public money to settle lawsuit against Lopez
ALBANY, N.Y. - Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver again finds himself on the hot seat.
Speaker Silver's decision to use $103,000 in taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against former Assemblyman Vito Lopez is now the subject of a court case filed by New York activist Robert Schulz. Oral arguments are being heard inside New York State Supreme Court in Albany on Monday.
The constitutional challenge was initially brought back in June. Schulz, who isn't a lawyer, has accused Silver of illegally and secretly settling the sexual harassment case. The complex lawsuit asks the court to direct Silver to compensate the state from his personal funds.
Schulz argues public money can't be used for a "private undertaking."
Silver has filed a motion to dismiss the case. Assembly staff said Silver's settlement was legal and part of routine practice. The women who brought the suit had sought far more.
Lopez has denied sexually harassing anyone. He paid an additional $32,000 on his own to settle the womens' suit.
A judge will decide in coming days whether the case will continue.