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Morning Spew

The Mayor’s Office Doesn’t Like City Councilmembers Asking Questions About Top Advisors Accused of Sexual Harassment

What if the City Council is the one doing that alleged harassment? And other links to start your day.

The Committee on Women and Gender Equity hearing last Thursday, May 2.
(Gerardo Romo / NYC Council Media Unit)

The many investigations into the mayor's campaign and his administration that are currently happening at the federal, state, and municipal level keep on growing—as the Daily News revealed last week, the City's own Department of Investigation is now expanding a probe into longtime Adams associate and current mayoral advisor Timothy Pearson.

DOI's probe into Pearson at first only focused his alleged beating up of migrant shelter security guards last year, but now includes separate lawsuits that accuse him of sexual harassment and of retaliating against NYPD officers who complained about his harassment or backed up other officers allegations. 

Whether the City will end up paying the tab for for Pearson's legal defense still remains unclear; City Hall's willingness to pay up was apparently one of the driving forces behind the current corporation council (who is tasked with defending the City in civil lawsuits), Sylvia Hinds-Radix, being pushed out in favor of uhhh, this totally on the level guy

All of this came up during a City Council hearing last week, when Brooklyn Councilmember Lincoln Restler (one of many progressive critics of Adams on the council, and the one that Adams seems most pissed off by), went in on the City's handling of sexual harassment accusations against Pearson. Restler questioned why the City didn't take an accuser of Pearson seriously when she made complaints to internal agencies, and now was instead going to possibly represent the person she was accusing of sexual harassment. 

"​​Overwhelmingly, when people speak out against harassment and mistreatment in the workplace, they face retaliation. It's clear that happened here at City Hall. It's been widely reported," Restler said during the hearing. "How does the City ensure retaliation does not occur?"

This criticism was all apparently too much for the Adams administration, which sent an angry letter to City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams  demanding that she herself open an investigation into Restler, and Restler's comments about the City's Office of Equal Employment Opportunity, whose leader skipped Thursday's council hearing. In fact, Lisa Zornberg, the mayor's chief counsel, wrote in the letter, it was Restler who was engaging in “harassing and inexcusable" behavior. 

Did this fly with Speaker Adams? Not in the least, and she immediately rebuffed any further efforts by the Adams administration to retaliate against people investigating the behavior of City Hall. Also on Friday, Speaker Adams asked the City's Department of Investigation to finally look into the absolutely unhinged social media ranting, at times targeting sitting councilmembers, that high-ranking uniformed NYPD officers are now regularly engaging in.

For months now, Mayor Adams has refused to do events with some councilmembers who voted to override his veto of a fairly standard police reporting bill. And at some point before the end of June, they all need to decide on a City budget that they still have deep, fundamental disagreements on

But aside from all of that, the relationship between the mayor and the City Council is going great

Some links to start your why-is-it-so-cold-in-May week:

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