(The Center Square) – The New York City Council’s recent expulsion of member Andy King failed to shock a local political expert, but it remains unclear if the district attorney will file any charges.
“I wasn’t surprised; it was the second vote to expel him and after the first one a whole bunch of measures were put in place to make sure he complied with the rules,” John Krinsky, professor of political science at The City College of New York, told The Center Square. “They gave him a chance, and apparently they believe he blew the chance.”
The expulsion of one of their own appears to be a first for the NYC council, and while the members were willing to discipline King, it’s not known if any charges will be brought, Krinsky said.
“It depends a great deal on who would bring the charges. The council couldn’t. Some of these had to do with sexual harassment and alleged impropriety involving not a huge amount of money. It is a betrayal of public trust; in terms of whether the District Attorney would bring criminal charges, it’s hard to say,” Krinsky said. “It would have to be worth the DA’s while to do this.”
While many workplaces are inclined to give colleagues the benefit of the doubt, that tends to erode when there is a pattern of offensive actions.
“People are more likely to give someone the benefit of the doubt if they haven’t made themselves obnoxious to all of their colleagues,” Krinsky said.
A number of council members were appalled not only by King’s treatment of women and financial improprieties, but by his “virulently homophobic behavior,” Krinsky said
He said that the council is sending a message it intends to hold its members to the highest standards of public service.
“There’s something good about a council saying we have the right to police our own body,” Krinsky said.
The vote to expel King was 48-2.
King, a Bronx Democrat, presented several defenses during the hearing and has since filed a federal lawsuit against the city, claiming race discrimination among other allegations, The New York Times reported.
King’s replacement will be installed after a special election, scheduled for late December. Krinsky stressed the importance of filling that seat, as well as that of Rafael Espinal, who left in January to become director of the Freelancers’ Union.
“It’s a pressing matter; there are now two low-income communities of color without representation and that needs to be corrected,” Krinsky said.