Assemblyman Vito Lopez and...
Aug 01, 2017 | 1634 views | 0 0 comments | 275 275 recommendations | email to a friend | print
We were rooting through our photo archives again, and found this undated photo among them. We recognize at least one person at this check presentation, and that is the man on the far right.

He is, of course, longtime assemblyman Vito Lopez, the Brooklyn boy who turned a nonprofit organization into a virtual political dynasty in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood, only to have his political career end in a stunning fall.

Lopez was born in Bensonhurst in 1941, and got his start in government with the Department of Social Services via the Stanhope Street Senior Center in Bushwick, where he began organizing senior citizens to push for more government resources.

This led to the creation of the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, a nonprofit that aggressively went after government funding and contracts. As it grew in size, so did Lopez's popularity, and a fiercely loyal constituency helped him land his Assembly seat in 1984.

In 2006, Lopez was named chairman of the Kings County Democratic Party, spreading his growing influence over the entire borough.

(Funny fact: Lopez once handed a reporter for one of our publications, the Greenpoint Star, a pencil with his name on it and said we might as well take a bribe because everybody at our newspaper thinks he is some sort of heavy-handed party boss anyway. The man also had a sense of humor!)

But in 2012, it all came crashing down for Lopez. He announced that he would not seek reelection amid allegations he sexually harassed two of his female staffers, and in 2013 he resigned from his Assembly seat and lost the chairmanship of the county party.

He was eventually fined $330,000 in relation to the scandal.

Lopez passed away in 2015 due to complications from cancer.

So while we know quite a bit about Assemblyman Vito Lopez, we don't know much about the other folks in the photo. If you can provide some insight, drop us a line at polposition@queensledger.com.
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