Private citizen sues Speaker Sheldon Silver, demands he repay taxpayers for secret Lopez settlement

Sheldon Silver

A private citizen is suing Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to try to force the Democrat to reimburse taxpayers for a $103,000 secret settlement of sexual harassment claims against an assemblyman.

Robert Schulz, who has successfully sued past state officials, says Silver's settlement of accusations against Assemblyman Vito Lopez violated the state constitution.

Schulz tells The Associated Press that Silver couldn't use public funds to pay for a "private undertaking."

Silver has apologized for the 2012 settlement and is pushing reforms to make sure established procedure is followed for any future sexual harassment allegations.

Lopez has denied any harassment. He resigned from the Assembly in May and is running for New York City Council. The New York Times reports that a Legislative Ethics Commission panel fined Lopez $330,000, the largest ever issued by the commission, following an ethics report on the allegations of sexual misconduct.

Silver's spokesman had no immediate comment.

Schulz filed the suit Thursday.

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