Reporters were eagerly anticipating an appearance from embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez during the State of State festivities at the Capitol this week. But Lopez made few public outings, sticking to his cramped fifth-floor office on Tuesday.
City & State spotted Lopez on Tuesday afternoon in an elevator in the Legislative Office Building, where he joked about his rough year, but he skipped a meeting attended by several Assembly members on Tuesday evening, the chamber’s swearing-in ceremony, and Cuomo’s State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon.
Lopez’s office confirmed he left Albany that morning to go to a doctor’s appointment in the city. The lawmaker avoided intense scrutiny from a herd of testy Albany reporters and his anxious colleagues, including Republican Assemblyman Steve Katz, who accused Speaker Sheldon Silver of “protecting sex offenders” in a statement on the floor of the chamber before casting his ballot for Minority Leader Brian Kolb.
A spokesman for Silver said that Lopez informed the clerk he would not be present for the speaker vote on Wednesday, joining Assemblymen Marcos Crespo and Phil Steck as the only absentees.