Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver moves to quash lawsuit in Albany court

Posted at: 10/28/2013 11:57 AM
Updated at: 10/28/2013 5:36 PM
By: WNYT Staff

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is facing a lawsuit in Albany
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is facing a lawsuit in Albany
Photo: File, WNYT

ALBANY - Government watchdog Robert Schulz is suing Speaker Silver, claiming the 103-thousand dollar payment was beyond the Speaker's authorized power, but Schulz was the defendant for Monday's action, which Silver's private attorney apparently being paid with public funds had brought trying to get Schulz's lawsuit against the Speaker thrown out.

"We have a lawful, valid payment for legitimate, public purpose under circumstances where state entities and municipal entities have made similar settlements in numerous other cases," Silver attorney Christopher Massaroni argued.

Schulz started his response referencing the 1777 State Constitution.

He argued the confidential payment Silver attempted using taxpayer money was outside the Speaker's listed powers.

"Neither does the Constitution authorize secret expenditures to cover up illicit and unsavory conduct by members of the Assembly or friends and members of the Speaker's private political party," Schulz argued.

In response, Massaroni said "no matter how many times he characterizes it as hush money or whatever else he wants to characterize it as, there were claims that were threatening the Assembly and the Assembly was well within its rights to make the determination to settle those claims."

Judge Kimberly O'Connor did not issue an immediate ruling. No timetable has been announced for her decision.