Over the past two weeks it's been revealed that one of the state's most powerful men, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), agreed to pay over $100,000 to settle workplace sexual harassment claims made against Brooklyn's most powerful Democrat, Assemblyman Vito Lopez. This was in addition to Silver publicly censuring Lopez—and stripping him of an Assembly chairmanship—for sexually harassing staffers and groping one ("wherein you put your hand on her leg, she removed your hand, and you then put your hand between her upper thighs, putting your hand as far up between her legs as you could go"). Now, with criticism mounting, Silver claims he did ask Lopez to resign.

Speaking from the Democratic National Convention, Silver told the Daily News that when he asked Lopez, 71, to resign, "[Lopez] basically was inaudible... I got the impression he didn’t appreciate my advice."

In speaking to the NY Times, Silver expanded, "I don’t think he’ll be effective as a member representing his constituents, interacting with his colleagues. He’s been used to being a committee chair — he won’t be a committee chair anymore, and his ability will be impaired significantly as a legislator."

In addition to the $103,00 paid out by the Assembly (as in, YOUR TAXPAYER MONEY) in a secret settlement, Lopez also kicked in $32,000 to stop the two female staffers—one of whom was represented by Gloria Allred—and their threats. Still, for Lopez and Silver, they probably saw the secret, possibly illegal settlement as a bargain since the two women had initially demanded $1.2 million.

Other female staffers, mostly anonymously, have mentioned the atmosphere of gross behavior in Lopez's office—he told women to go bra-less, wear short skirts and suggested that some wear button-down shirts so he could look down them. His male staffers and associates also, allegedly, felt empowered to come onto them—the Times reported, "For Ms. Friot, the last straw came in May 2010, she said, when an aide to one of Mr. Lopez’s political allies aggressively propositioned her during a weekend political retreat to a resort in the Catskills. She said she brushed off the proposition, but later in the night, two other political aides cornered her and asked her to come back to their hotel room."

To recap: Sheldon Silver, one of the three most powerful men in Albany (the two others are Governor Cuomo and Senate Leader Dean Skelos), could not get Brooklyn's most powerful Democrat to step down even after an Assembly committee found the accusers' claims—of being groped, fondled, verbally harassed and kissed—were credible (PDF). Keep it classy, Shelly!