After a series of alleged violations regarding harassment, retaliation, and other instances of disorderly conduct and conflicts of interest, the City Council’s Standards and Ethics Committee recommended the removal of north Bronx councilman Andy King from City Hall.
On Sept. 29, Speaker Corey Johnson expressed his support of the decision in a statement, saying “Council Member King should be expelled from office. This is not a decision to be made lightly, but Council Member King has given us no alternative.”
Last year, City Council voted down a resolution to expel King proposed by Queens councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, one which was vocally supported by Brooklyn Council Member Carlos Menchaca — though that was voted down by a count of 34 to 12.
The governing body opted instead to ban the lawmaker from City Council for 30 days and fine him $15,000. It was the lengthiest suspension voted on in the modern history of the Council according to Johnson, who addressed the charges prior to the vote.
And I will now vote for a second time to expel him. Should have already happened, but this is a good sign. https://t.co/4HrnOdwIgS
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) September 29, 2020
At the time, that Ethics Committee released a 48-page report detailing the allegations of harassment, conflict of interest, retaliation, disorderly conduct just a week earlier. King previously had to undergo training for similar issues in 2017.
Going through the report and transcripts against King made Johnson “literally sick to [his] stomach,” the speaker said.
The Council’s Ethics Committee had been investigating King since early on in 2017, alleging that he “engaged in gender-based harassment” regarding a photo accidentally posted to his Twitter account by a staffer that was intended for their personal account in June 2015.
The “sickening” report on King said he allegedly referred to that photo being the same “as child pornography” in front of staff while also alleging King to have set up his wife, Neva Shillingford-King to “essentially help run his office” while also giving her the power to hire staffers. The Council also resolved that Shillingford-King may not have any future involvement in her husband’s office.
He had been accused of misappropriating Council funds for a “retreat” fit for a king in the U.S. Virgin Islands, one that both the council member and his wife attended.
King was alleged to have allowed a staffer to behave “in a verbally and physically threatening manner,” according to the report.
The Ethics Committee also alleged that King retaliated against staffers that he believed would cooperate with the investigation.
King was also required to hire an office monitor on staff after the 2019 resolution, who Johnson said had been undermined and “was imposed to try and correct [King’s] egregious behavior.”
In 2019, King said “ever since I’ve been in office I’ve treated my staff like family,” during an afternoon hearing — which he referred to as a crucifixion — also saying his due process was being violated.
If King is to be expelled, which will next be voted on by the entire Council, it would be the first ever expulsion in the history of City Hall.