Former Bushwick Assemblyman and Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez, whose aggressive development of affordable housing and senior programs secured his grip over the neighborhood and whom state investigators found serially sexually harassed female employees, died on Monday night. He succumbed to leukemia at Memorial Sloan-Kettring Cancer Center. He was 74.

Lopez resigned in 2013 after the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics found that he often groped, kissed, and said lecherous things to at least eight of his women employees, and once wondered aloud whether there was anywhere in the U.S. he could legally have sex with a 14-year-old intern. A previous investigation into allegations by two female staffers resulted in now-indicted former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver approving a $100,000 hush money payout from state coffers and hiding the matter from state ethics investigators. This year, the state agreed to pay out more than $500,000 in taxpayer money to atone for Lopez's perverted, and amply documented misdeeds.

Lopez had suffered from cancer for years, and one of the many degrading things he forced a female employee to do was to touch the tumors in his neck, shoulder, and armpit. He died still denying the allegations of sexual harassment despite hours of audio recordings, including one of him demanding a woman continue to massage his hand as she cried and told him it made her uncomfortable because she had once been raped, and reams of interviews and corroborating evidence. Special prosecutor Dan Donovan cleared Lopez of criminal wrongdoing along with Silver and other state leaders involved in the coverup.

The Observer recalls of Lopez's political career:

First elected to the Assembly in 1985, Mr. Lopez, a social worker by training, rose to become chairman of the housing committee, where he was able to dole out millions of dollars in funding for his then-impoverished Williamsburg and Bushwick district. Mr. Lopez founded the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, a nonprofit that provides services to senior citizens in the Bushwick area. To his supporters, RBSCC was vital community resource; to detractors, it was little more than a patronage mill and a source of his political power.

Mr. Lopez was respected and feared in Brooklyn, where his savvy, organizational acumen and ability to hold a grudge were legendary. Few elected officials delivered the resources Mr. Lopez could for his slice of northern Brooklyn, where senior centers, healthcare facilities and housing sprouted up thanks to Mr. Lopez’s largesse. When Mayor Bill de Blasio, then a city councilman, was vying with Christine Quinn to become the speaker of the City Council in 2005, he and Ms. Quinn aggressively courted the hulking Democrat.

Speaking to the Daily News, longtime Lopez ally Frank Seddio, who replaced Lopez as Kings County Democratic chairman as the sexual harassment scandals grew in 2012, brushed off the bad press surrounding Lopez's final years.

"The last few years he's just been beat up over the incidents, but when you look at his legacy, Bushwick looks the way it does today because of Vito Lopez," he said. "It went form vacant lots and burned out buildings to having an enormous amount of affordable housing for people."

Lopez founded the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council in 1973 and as assemblyman funneled hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into the group to build below-market housing and community centers. Political observers credited the 5,000 housing units built and renovated by the group as key to Lopez's political success. Lopez headed the Assembly's Housing Committee and peers in politics and low-income housing development often complained that he muscled them out of government contracts and political races in and around his turf, sometimes through ethically suspect means. Recent investigations into the organization found that executives had misappropriated funds and falsified documents, but failed to tie Lopez to any malfeasance.