The voices calling for state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst) to step down after his misdemeanor conviction for assaulting his girlfriend got a little louder this week as the Queens Democratic Party unanimously approved a resolution to that effect Monday.
“We can’t force him to resign,” said Michael Reich, executive secretary for the Queens Dems. “We’re saying that … he should do his party and his community a favor and step down.”
All 65 Democratic district leaders present voted in favor of the resolution. Absent from the caucus was Flushing District Leader Martha Flores Vazquez, a vocal Monserrate supporter.
Monserrate, meanwhile, has said he will cooperate with a special Senate committee formed by Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson (D-Brooklyn) to investigate what options the body has to penalize him.
The committee of five Democrats and four Republicans includes five women: Sens. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D-Bronx), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) and Cathy Young (R-Olean).
But at least one of Monserrate’s Senate colleagues scorned the formation of the committee. Sen. Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx).
“There are five Hispanic senators among the 32 Democratic Senators. One must question why not even one of them was appointed to the committee,” Diaz said in a written statement. “I believe that the real intention of this ‘independent and impartial’ committee is to get even with Sen. Monserrate for what he did to the Democrats this past June and to use the Republicans who have been praying for such an opportunity to settle the score with Sen. Monserrate.”
Monserrate joined Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) in a temporary defection to the Republican side this summer, giving the GOP an apparent majority and causing a month-long deadlock before returning to the Democratic fold.
Monserrate, 42, was acquitted last month of felony assault charges after prosecutors said he slashed his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass during a fight in December 2008. Monserrate and his girlfriend have both maintained he tripped with a water glass while she was lying in bed, doused her with liquid and when she shot upright, she collided with the glass.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.