What to Know
- The New York City Council voted Monday to suspend Council Member Andy King after years of harassment allegations against him
- King allegedly harassed staff with improper and abusive comments, and retaliated against staffers who cooperated with investigators
- The Bronx councilmember is suspended 30 days without pay, removed from committees, fined $15,000 and will have a monitor oversee his office
The New York City Council voted Monday to suspend Council Member Andy King after years of harassment allegations against him.
In an overwhelming vote, 44-1, the Bronx councilman was issued the punishment over claims he harrassed his staff with improper and abusive comments, along with retaliating against staffers who cooperated with investigators.
The lone vote against the suspension was from King himself, while two other councilmembers abstained.
This marks the very first time in its history that the council has voted to suspend one of its own members.
"Since 2014, I have given my heart and soul to the residents of the Bronx and the 12th District. I grew up in a household with a family that taught manners and etiquette and respect," King said outside of City Hall after the vote. "If anybody believes that the 48-page document that was submitted to the council holds truth and merit, they are sadly mistaken."
King, whose district includes the Eastchester and Co-op City neighborhoods, went to court earlier Monday seeking a temporary restraining order to block a vote against him.
"It's a sad day," King said during a council meeting prior to the vote. "I'm a man who's very respectful — full of integrity."
Before the suspension vote, the council voted on a last-minute motion which would have expelled King. It failed to pass, 34-12.
The second vote, recommended by the council's ethics committee, did pass and approved a measure to suspend King for 30 days without pay, remove him from committees and appoint a monitor to oversee his office. King was also issued a $15,000 fine.
The punishment is effective immediately.
"I'm sickened by what they have endured because of Councilmember King's odious behavior. As for Councilmember King, I deplore his cowardice and disdain," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
King left the council chambers through a back door after the motion passed just before 4 p.m., saying there are current and past staffers who are upset with the situation "because they know that’s not who I am."
"When I first started, I talked about how much I care for my staff, and how I treated my staff as family. And I would never do anything to hurt my family," King said. "Someone said ‘You know Councilman, you are guilty. You are guilty of being too kind. You ‘re guilty of being nice…being caring.’ That’s what I am."
The council's Ethics Committe said in a statement that they had "substantiated claims against Council Member King with overwhelming evidence, including allegations that he intimidated and retaliated against staff who came forward with charges."