Allegations of misconduct, harassment, employee retaliation and disorderly conduct — all laid bare in a damning report outlining years of bad behavior by Councilman Andy King, a Democrat from the Bronx.
Drafted by the Council’s standards and ethics committee, the report is the result of a months-long investigation into King’s actions after members of his staff filed complaints against him going back as early as 2017.
According to the 48-page report, King fostered a culture of intimidation and fear, tried to fire staff for cooperating with Council investigations and sought retaliation against employees when they reported his behavior.
Staff was sometimes fired without notice, cut off from email, blocked from collecting unemployment benefits and, at one point, told not to come into work until King called them with directions.
“The charges, which have been substantiated according to the committee are very, very serious and I think we as a body are going to take them very seriously,” said Councilman Andy Cohen, a Democrat from the Bronx.
In one instance, the report alleges King summoned staff to his home in the Bronx for a meeting where he became “visibly angry and upset and demanded to know who among his staff was cooperating with Council investigators.” King would not let staffers leave until they identified the complainant. He then proceeded to disparage them and questioned their credibility.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said King should step down.
“Shocked. Horrified. Mortified that anybody who is on the City Council would mistreat employees, expose employees to violence in the workplace, retaliate against employees,” Van Bramer said.
It’s not the first time King has faced disciplinary action. In 2015, he faced allegations of unlawful firing and sexual harassment, and, in 2018, he was ordered to attend tax payer funded “sensitivity training” after violating the council’s anti-harassment and discrimination policy.
Now, members of the Council are considering whether he should be removed from office.
King is also accused of misusing Council funds and blurring conflict of interest rules by allowing his wife Neva Shillingford–King, an executive at health care workers union 1199SEIU — to run his office, make staffing decisions and use Council resources to do work on behalf of the union.
The report recommends King be suspended without pay for 30 days, pay a $15,000 fine and be subject to an independent monitor charged with overseeing his office.
The entire Council will vote on the committee’s disciplinary recommendations on Monday. Several calls and request for comment were not returned by King.