Wednesday, January 16, 2008


A powerful Brooklyn lawmaker who has delivered millions of dollars in state aid to his district is also on the payroll of one of the community groups he has funded - but won't say what he's paid to do.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick) has been a consultant to a not-for-profit housing group since 1998, earning as much as $57,600 a year, according to tax records and check stubs obtained by The Post.
Lopez's consulting fees come on top of the $92,000 annual salary he earns as a state lawmaker and committee chairman.
When asked about his role as a consultant and any possible conflict with his position as chairman of the Assembly's Housing Committee, Lopez erupted in a bizarre tirade.
"On Tuesday we're feeding 2,000 senior citizens, what are you doing?" he snapped.
"How much do you get paid?" Lopez continued. "Unless you tell me how much you get paid and what you're doing on Christmas, I won't answer your questions."
Yet even when that information was provided, Lopez still refused to discuss his consulting work or explain what the housing-management group does in his district.
Lopez even suggested The Post's questions be posed to one of his daughters. He later tried to say he was joking with that suggestion.
Lopez is among Gov. Pataki's strongest supporters in the city. He has boasted of the tens of millions of dollars that he has brought to his district annually for housing and other programs.
Groups he has founded depend heavily on state largess. His Bushwick-Ridgewood Senior Citizens Center, an umbrella group for many of the district's not-for-profits, receives $7 million a year in public funds.
Community Property Management Inc. operates housing built or rehabilitated by groups affiliated with the Bushwick-Ridgewood Senior Citizens Center. Officials at the management group did not return calls for comment.
In filings with the state's Legislative Ethics Committee, Lopez, as required by law, declared his consulting work for Community Property Management during 1998, 1999 and 2000.
In those filings, Lopez described the work as providing technical assistance for program development, but was not required to state his income.

Source Citation: "POL BENEFIT$ FROM STATE-AIDED GROUP.(News)." New York Post (New York, NY) (Dec 23, 2001): 16. New York Times and New York Post (2000-present). Thomson Gale. New York Public Library. 20 Jan. 2007

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