The New York City Council voted overwhelmingly Monday to expel Bronx lawmaker Andy King after the Democrat was hit by a third set of ethics charges, saying he once again misused government funds and mistreated his staff.
The Council easily mustered the two-thirds majority needed, voting 48-2 to boot King from his job representing the 12th District at City Hall.
King now holds the ignominious distinction of being the first city politician booted from the lawmaking body in modern history without first being convicted of a crime.
“All reasonable alternatives have been exhausted and drastic action is now our only option,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who described the latest set of allegations against King “as conduct disqualifying from public office.”
“Council member King’s behavior is unfixable and that if do not take the action recommended by the [ethics] committee, we are likely to be back here in a few months,” he added.
King responded with a rambling, half-hour-long speech that included accusations that his fellow council members of mounting a years-long, racially-tinged campaign to boot him from office.
“If you look at me as an n-word, then it doesn’t matter because it’s all about hurting me, it’s not about finding truths, it’s about hurting me,” he said at one point.
“However, the minute that someone says anything about me, my name is dragged through the mud, dragged through the papers,” he later claimed.
King at one point attempted to have his attorney speak on his behalf as he appeared to attempt a filibuster of the proceedings, only to be swiftly admonished by Johnson.
The motion to expel was opposed only by King and one of his Bronx colleagues, Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr.
King’s name was immediately removed and his name was taken off the City Council’s website.
The City Charter requires Mayor Bill de Blasio to schedule a special election between December 19 and January 8 to fill his seat, according to Council sources.
Monday’s vote amounts to a civil conviction on the latest set of ethics charges brought by the Committee on Standards and Ethics, which effectively serves as the Council’s grand jury for vetting allegations of misconduct by members.
The panel’s members unanimously backed new charges last week that King engineered a kickback scheme with a staffer that netted him $2,000 in government funds and punished a sick female staffer for seeking medical treatment, issuing a sometimes graphic 55-page report that detailed the evidence.
In September 2017, the unidentified staffer who suffers from polycystic ovarian syndrome told King she needed to go to the hospital because she had been struggling with menstrual bleeding for more than a month.
King, who was at a Bronx restaurant to interview a DJ, told her to “put a Band-Aid on it” and laughed, according to the report.
A few weeks later, King forced the staffer to take unpaid medical leave that she did not seek and then refused to allow her to return to work — eventually forcing her to resign her position.
The Ethics Committee also found that King used his power to grant one-time payments to members of his staff engineer a kickback scheme.
In July 2019, King called an unidentified staffer, identified as Staffer-2, into his office and told the employee that he would receive “something extra” in his paycheck — and that the staffer would need to give him $2,000 of that extra payment.
The $9,500 one-time payment netted the staffer $5,500 after taxes. The staffer then made two cash withdrawals of $5,000 over two days in August from his Co-Op City banking branch to give King the money he demanded.
The staffer took the cash to King’s home on August 16 and left it on a piece of furniture.
“Don’t forget, here’s the money,” the staffer told King.
The councilman replied: “Oh, OK,” according to the report.
The Ethics Committee also determined that King failed to abide by the sanctions and censure that his Council colleagues imposed on him last year.
The report revealed that he failed to pay the $15,000 fine, did not take the required, mistreated the independent monitor placed in his office to help protect his staffers from further mistreatment and continued to retaliate against staffers he believed testified against him in the two prior probes.
It’s the latest episode in at least a three-year sojourn of misbehavior by King, records show.
Those sanctions were imposed on King by the Council after the Ethics Committee issued a damning report in October 2019 about King’s behavior, including repeated allegations of misusing government resources and mistreating his staff.
That 48-page document revealed that King used his Council staff to plan a 2017 retreat to the Virgin Islands, where his step-daughter’s wedding was listed on the itinerary — including drafting letters, invitations and flyers for the St. Thomas soiree.
He also misused city resources by ordering his staff to help his wife, Neva Shillingford-King, out with her day job as a top executive at SEIU Local 1199 and to bolster her reputation.
The ethics committee also that he bullied his staff and retaliated against Council employees that he believed testified against him before the Ethics Committee during the first probe into his behavior.
King was first sanctioned by the Ethics Committee in 2018 for paying “unwanted attention” to a female staffer.
The Ethics Committee ordered him to take a sensitivity course that cost city taxpayers $3,500.
The lawmaker was first elected in 2012 special election to replace former Councilman Larry Seabrook, who was forced off the City Council following his corruption conviction for steering $2 million to nonprofits that employed family members and friends.
King could not seek a third term in 2021 under term limits.
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