Bronx Councilman Andy King faces call for resignation following bombshell report on ethics violation

Updated : Oct 24, 2019 in Articles

Bronx Councilman Andy King faces call for resignation following bombshell report on ethics violation


Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is calling on fellow lawmaker Andy King to resign amid new details of his alleged conflict-of-interest violations, retaliation against staff and homophobic comments  “King’s behavior is horrifying & fundamentally disqualifying: if he does not resign immediately, the Council should expel him,” Van Bramer (D-Queens) said in a Wednesday statement, as outrage over King’s alleged violations grew within the Council’s ranks Advertisement  The body is expected to vote on punishments for the Bronx pol next week The Ethics Committee has already substantiated the allegations and recommended King be suspended without pay for 30 days, fined $15,000 and get a monitor placed in his office for the duration of his term, among other measures — all after King got a slap on the wrist for inappropriate advances toward a female staffer in 2017  Shocking new details from the panel’s report surfaced Wednesday.  King was accused of using Council resources for a retreat to the Virgin Islands; enabling his wife Neva Shillingford-King — executive vice president of the 1199 SEIU union — to use his office for her own ends, and forcing out three staffers for cooperating with investigators  King “allowed the lines between personal and familial interests and his Council duties to become impermissibly and completely blurred in the running of his Council office, which resulted in Council staffers and Council resources being used to personally benefit both Council Member King and his wife,” states the 47-page report  The couple allegedly absconded to the Virgin Islands for a “retreat” on the Council’s dime in 2017 They attended Shillingford-King’s daughter’s wedding, while the retreat prominently featured Shillingford-King and her employer, according to the Ethics Committee  Neither King nor 1199 SEIU immediately responded to a request for comment.  King enabled his wife “to essentially help run the office,” according to the report, overseeing hiring of favored candidates including people she’d worked with at the union  King’s harsh treatment of his staff included homophobic remarks, according to the report  “I don’t approve of this behavior,” King allegedly said of the New York City Pride March “To me, this is the same as child pornography.”  The comment came as a rebuke to a staffer who accidentally posted a photo from the 2015 march to the councilman’s Twitter account, having intended to share it through the staffer’s own feed  King’s alleged tormenting of his staff didn’t end there.  The Ethics Committee’s report depicted a climate of terror at the Bronx pol’s office, with an abusive supervisor regularly menacing staff At one point, the manager almost came to blows with King himself in front of the staff, “some of whom began to cry,” the report said  Amid the 2017 investigation, the councilman allegedly demanded that employees who cooperated with investigators admit they had done so  “Of the three staffers who admitted they had cooperated, one was driven out of his office, [King] attempted to fire another and the third must have clearly gotten the message, because even a subpoena wasn’t enough to compel that staffer’s cooperation,” Matteo said Tuesday Advertisement  In one outrageous case, King apparently forced out a staffer by telling that person they had to work at the councilman’s far-flung Bronx office instead of the one near City Hall The staffer’s protestations that he couldn’t make the two-hour commute due to medical restrictions allegedly were ignored, and the person eventually quit  The Ethics Committee’s investigation began after a fired King staffer accused the councilman of gender discrimination in January But the panel was unable to complete its investigation of that allegation once the staffer stopped cooperating  Van Bramer was alone among Council members calling for King’s resignation as of Wednesday afternoon But other lawmakers voiced outrage at the new allegations. “The substantiated details in the report on Council Member King are extremely troubling and there must be severe consequences for these completely unacceptable actions,” Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Queens) said in a statement  Council members Brad Lander, Steve Levin, Helen Rosenthal and Ritchie Torres declined to comment  Councilman Joe Borelli (R-S.I.) said, ““It’s troubling. We’re not talking about someone stealing the office pens ”

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