Friday, December 28, 2012


Amid investigations, Vito Lopez parties on

Embattled assemblyman serves up food and booze at his annual holiday bash



























Bryan Pace for New York Daily News

Despite facing criminal probe and ethics investigation, Assemblyman Vito Lopez still toasted the holiday season.

This was one holiday party where it was best to avoid the mistletoe.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez is still facing criminal and ethics investigations in a sexual harassment scandal but still toasted the season at his annual holiday soirée.
A couple hundred of Lopez’s still-loyal supporters attended the shindig at Our Lady of Snow Hall in Brooklyn Thursday night. The invitation noted the celebration was for “adults only.”
Wearing a red sweater and red tie under a black jacket, Lopez greeted his guests warmly, even kissing a few women on the cheek.
The party featured an open bar and buffet with bountiful trays of baked ziti, lasagna and eggplant.
“We’ve done this 18 years. Some people would like us not to do any of it,” said Lopez, addressing the crowd. “This is a celebration of the holidays.”
Supporter John Doyle, 62, of Mineola, L.I., happily attended the party and scoffed at the sordid allegations against Lopez. “I’ve known him for a number of years and he’s always been considerate to me,” Doyle said. “I felt it was important to reciprocate.”
While Mayor Bloomberg and Bill Clinton have been to past Lopez parties, this year’s event appeared to be more for Lopez’s Brooklyn constituents.
Brooklyn Sen. Martin Dilan, a Democrat and close ally of Lopez, said he had no reservations about attending the party — which was being held in his Senate district.
"About 100% of the people there will be my constituents," Dilan said. "I will go see them.”
Lopez’s critics, meanwhile, responded to the party with a big “humbug!”
“It begs the question of whether he is taking the charges against him seriously,” said Sonia Ossorio, executive director of the National Organization for Women’s New York City chapter. “It is not business as usual for Mr. Lopez in Albany anymore.”
One person who did not attend was Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). “I wasn’t invited and don’t intend to go,” Silver said.
Silver stripped Lopez of his seniority and his position as chairman of the Assembly Housing Committee in August after an ethics committee found he’d sexually harassed two staff members. It was later revealed Silver had used $103,000 in taxpayer funds to quietly settle an earlier complaint.
gblain@nydailynews.com
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