Sometimes it's very good being Party Boss: a worker at a nonprofit started by Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for falsifying expense sheets yesterday. It was in connection with sketchy claims made at the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, a nonprofit organization Lopez founded, and which has both his campaign treasurer and girlfriend on its payroll.
Worker Tyess Crespo pleaded guilty to faking attendance forms, in order to qualify for at least $4,080 in city payments. Officials has been investigating more than $343,000 worth of claims from the non-profit, but Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan said the probe "produced no actionable evidence of criminal conduct beyond those in the initial criminal charges," leaving Lopez free to yell at old ladies, or whatever he does in his spare time.
Lopez did get a verbal beatdown from Mayor Bloomberg however, after he heard the report that Lopez is one of 11 politicians who are double-dipping, taking advantage of a loophole that allows entrenched elected officials to collect pension checks while still in office. Bloomberg told reporters, "It is the ultimate scam. It's an outrage. No one's going to stop them legally...They shouldn't do it." Lopez responded by saying his cancer relapse led him to file for his pension. "I made a decision based on my health status and my responsibility to my family," he said.