- Vito Lopez, somewhere in one of the five boroughs (allegedly).
Embattled Brooklyn Democratic Machine Boss Vito Lopez doesn’t even live in Brooklyn. At least that’s the conclusion arrived at by three Daily News reporters who went and staked out the State Assemblyman’s Bushwick home, along with his girlfriend’s Queens condo. (You know, that sounds fun to me, staking out a politician: the donuts, the coffee, the sudoku, the low hot thrum of sexual tension buzzing through a parked Ford Taurus… BUT I DIGRESS). After finding zero evidence of Lopez at his Stanhope Street digs (but plenty of Vito in Queens) the Newsies started asking neighbors some questions, and the neighbors were all like “who?” Seriously:
“I know most of my neighbors, but him I’ve never seen.”
—Oscar Rodriguez, 32
“I’ve never seen him.”
—Patricia Fernandez, 31.
“I’ve never seen that face. Believe me, we sit here, we watch everybody go up and down the block.”
—Jose Torres, 51
Why does this matter? Well, beyond the deeper philosophical problem of any representative not living in the area he represents, it’s actually required in New York, so Vito could be in even more trouble here (though it’s difficult to disprove someone’s residency).
I asked newly minted Democratic District Leader (and non-Lopez allied Brooklyn Democratic reformer) Lincoln Restler for his take on “L’Affaire Sleepover” and he didn’t mince words: “Facing federal investigation, living outside his district, abusing public monies for personal gain? Vito Lopez is now officially Pedro Espada without the $400 sushi habit.”
When asked if he lives in the apartment where he says he lives, Mr. Restler replied, “yes.” No stakeout is (as of yet) planned to verify Mr. Restler’s claim.