Councilman Andy King is the subject of a City Council investigation into sexual harassment allegations, according to sources.
In a statement by Standard and Ethics Committee chairman Alan Maisel, regarding action taken on Friday, December 15, “the Committee on Standards and Ethics deliberated and voted to formally open a matter concerning alleged misconduct by a council member.”
While the council would not specifically name King, or specify the charges, sources confirmed to the NY Daily News that the councilman was the target.
King’s press secretary, Stephannia Cleaton, did not respond to a request for a statement from the councilman regarding the proceedings.
Maisel’s statement was released to the Bronx Times Reporter by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s office.
“To protect the confidentiality of individuals who report misconduct — and to ensure that in the future people feel comfortable coming forward with complaints — the committee voted to keep all proceedings confidential while this matter is under review,” Maisel said.
The council takes this matter and all allegations of misconduct by council members and council employees very seriously and will conduct a thorough, expedient, and fair review and resolution of this matter, according to Maisel.
“As always, council employees are encouraged to report any misconduct in accordance with Council’s Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy,” Maisel said.
In Mayor de Blasio’s response to a query from the Bronx Times Reporter, asking about King, deputy press secretary Ben Sarle emailed, “I received your inquiry, and we are going to have to decline comment at the moment. Thanks!”
The council’s Standards and Ethics committee handles misconduct charges against council members.
The investigation involves alleged violations of a council rule prohibiting disorderly behavior, which includes sexual harassment.
The charge reportedly stems from a staffer who filed a complaint, saying King had made inappropriate and sexually suggestive comments to her.
“Any issues and concerns regarding, obviously, sexual harassment are taken seriously in this council,” Mark-Viverito told reporters at City Hall.
If the committee finds King broke any rules, the council could move to expel him, hit him with a fine or reprimand or yank his committee assignments, according to the NY Daily News.
“We have a process which we’re going through. I’m not going to put the cart ahead of the horse,” Mark-Viverito said. “We acted quickly. I thank the council members for their deliberations.”
King was hit with a separate sexual harassment complaint two years ago, charging he made advances toward a staffer and got her fired when she turned him down, according to a report in the Daily News.
The incident in 2015, involved a former staffer with the council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, which King co-chaired. She filed a notice of claim for a $1.25 million suit against the city charging he had harassed her, according to the daily.
“King created a hostile work environment by sexually harassing and intimidating claimant,” the papers said, also charging he “made demeaning, sexist remarks” and “inappropriate, unwelcome advances.”
The woman charged he abused his authority by trying to change caucus rules to give himself sole power to hire and fire staff.