- Last Updated: 3:21 AM, November 25, 2012
- Posted: 1:30 AM, November 25, 2012
INSIDE CITY HALL
Vito Lopez had better start looking for a real-estate agent if he intends to run for the City Council next year in the Brooklyn neighborhood he most covets.
Sources said Council Speaker Christine Quinn wants to undo the map proposed by the Districting Commission that moved the embattled assemblyman’s home into the district represented by Councilwoman Diana Reyna.
Lopez is being investigated for sexual harassment against female staffers and has been stripped of his leadership posts as a result.
With nowhere to go in Albany, he’s told friends that he might just take a stab at the council seat held by Reyna, a one-time ally and now a bitter rival who’ll leave in 2013 because of term limits.
Reyna, who has become something of an obsession for Lopez, is backing her chief of staff as successor.
The commission’s secret little favor — exposed last week by The Post’s Sally Goldenberg — presents Quinn with a pounding political headache.
She’s running for mayor next year as the only woman in the race — and being linked to an accused groper is the last thing she needs.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, another mayoral contender, has already indicated that Quinn’s association with Lopez could be an issue in the campaign.
Since she appoints five of the Districting Commission’s 15 members, Quinn has considerable sway in the final boundary lines that get submitted to the US Justice Department for approval.
One source said that, at the end of the day, Lopez’s home won’t be in Reyna’s district.
“Speaker Quinn is actively exploring ways to fix the Vito problem,” explained the source.
The irony of this situation is that the commission was getting generally high grades for its work before the Lopez controversy erupted.
“I had no problem with the process,” said Tom Ognibene, an outspoken former city councilman who was named a commissioner by Republicans on the council.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a heavy dose of politics in the decision making. It just wasn’t as pronounced as with past commissions, whose every move, just about, was made through a political lens.
“You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that happened back then,” said one official.
The special accommodation for Lopez was, therefore, even more puzzling. For one thing, he can still run wherever he wants — as long as he moves into the district he represents.
Sources said that Councilman Erik Dilan, a longtime Lopez ally, requested the boundary change a week or two before the commission’s final public hearing.
But the commission didn’t act until it was too late for the public to know or object.