The New York City Council voted Monday to expel councilman Andy King over years of harassment allegations against him.
The vote to remove King was the first such vote to expel a councilmember in the council's 8-decade history. The council voted 48-2 in favor of expelling the Bronx councilmember, a two-thirds majority was required.
"Andy King should have been expelled from the City Council a long time ago," Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who proposed expelling King in 2019, said at the council vote. Several others on the council expressed frustration that King has shown no remorse for his alleged actions.
The city council had previously voted to expel King back in October 2019 but it failed to pass. Last year, he was suspended for 30 days and fined $15,000, which the ethics committee saying he never paid. More accusations of wrongdoing had been leveled against the Bronx councilman since that time, adding to the multitude of complaints against King over the years.
"The minute anything is said my name is dragged through the mud... and my community," King said at Monday's council meeting, where he again denied the accusations. He said that a member should only be voted out if they are convicted of a crime.
"Any motion to expel should be coupled with a conviction," King said.
King and Ruben Diaz, Sr. delivered the two dissenting votes. King maintains that he's the one who has been the victim of discrimination, by the rest of the council.
"Why am I being attacked like this?" he said. "I do not want to be a martyr. I just want to continue to serve the residents of the 12th district."
The new vote came less than a week after the 58-year-old politician was disciplined for the third time by the city council's ethics committee over claims King harassed his staff with improper and abusive comments. The watchdog panel last week called for the councilman's expulsion.
King defended himself outside of his Bronx office last week, standing alongside his attorneys and a group of supporters. While he did not speak for himself, King's attorneys deny everything the ethics committee had found in its investigation, including that King harassed and discriminated against a female staffer, misappropriated council money and that he refused to comply with the punishment the council gave him last year for an ethics violation.
King's attorneys call it a character assassination. They also said they believe that the council should not have the power to get rid of one of its members — that that should be up to the constituents.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who called Monday's decision a "sad day for the New York City Council," said last week that he agreed with the ethics panel.
"This is not a decision to be made lightly, but Council Member King has given us no alternative. This is the third time this Committee has had to discipline the Council Member, and yet he continues to show a blatant disregard for the rules and policies put in place to protect staff and the integrity of this body, including undermining the monitor who was imposed to try and correct his egregious behavior," Johnson said in a statement.
King will be replaced in a special election that will be announced in the coming months.
Following the vote, King filed a lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against the City Council over the expulsion.