Vito led ‘Occupy Wall Street’ solidarity march — even though he’s a 1 percenter!

The Brooklyn Paper
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The firebrand Brooklyn Assemblyman who led last week’s solidarity march to Occupy Wall Street is actually not one of the “99 percent.”

Assemblyman Vito Lopez protested income inequality at the rally — but he and his girlfriend have a combined income of $493,000, putting their household in the top one percent nationwide.

The 69-year-old pol makes $92,000 as an assemblymember — a part-time job — but also collects his $64,634 pension, thanks to a state loophole.

That adds up to $156,630, putting his individual income among the top five percent of wage earners, according to 2009 IRS data.

Meanwhile, Lopez’s longtime, live-in girlfriend, Angela Battaglia, collected about $337,090 last year — $282,940 as the housing director of the Lopez-founded Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, and a $54,150 stipend as a city planning commissioner.

The quite-grand grand total — $493,000 — easily puts the power couple in the top one percent of earners, which the Congressional Budget Office, using IRS statistics, says is any househousehold earning more than $350,000.

Lopez and Battaglia’s wages don’t include assets that the couple has accumulated, including a Queens condo that Battaglia bought in 1992, and a quaint Suffolk County summer house that Battaglia and Lopez purchased in 1997 for $173,000, which a town assessor estimates could be worth half a million dollars.

Still, Lopez proclaimed his solidarity this week with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who have camped out in Lower Manhattan for more than a month, by calling for a higher state income tax.

“We trying to push for an agenda to make those making the billions of dollars to give back to the city they’re making it from,” Lopez told Good Day New York on Tuesday.

Reach reporter Aaron Short at or by calling (718) 260-2547.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Dave from Park Slope says:
Hypocritical buffoon. Keep reelecting him, Bushwick. Good job.
Oct. 31, 2011, 4:51 am
Katie from Brooklyn says:
I'm confused, he's trying to increase support for affordable housing, day care, local schools and other essential services that conservatives want to cut, right? What's wrong with that?

I guess if you're owned by Rupert Murdoch and News Corp like Brooklyn Paper, you don't want to present those issues in a positive light.

Also, he isn't part of the 1%, no matter how you slice it. Even your article admits that his income puts him at around the 5%. Then you try to game your argument by counting his income with someone that you decide is his "long time live in girlfriend." Kind of childish, no?

The reality is that both Lopez and Battaglia have worked for over thirty years to help seniors and the disadvantaged in North Brooklyn. As someone that has worked there for several years, I know how hard they work to help people, and that people there support them in their efforts. Given that the OWS protests and the related marches are only trying to help our country help the least well off as well, this article avoids talking about substantive issues in order to distract its readership.
Oct. 31, 2011, 5:59 am
Bill from Brooklyn says:
At a time when financiers and other bankers are making billions of dollars pushing foreclosures and privatizing our natural resources, you choose to pick on two people that have given their lives to public service? Seems like selective prosecution to me.

Aaaron, why no articles on the family of your personal friend Lincoln Restler? He comes from a family that has made immense wealth (not top 1% but top .0001%) by privatizing the natural resources (gas and hydro power) of British Columbia, Canada. Also, the whole process has been done behind closed doors. Peter Restler, Lincoln’s father and biggest campaign contributor, seems to be the man behind the curtain of British Columbia’s center right Liberal Party, and those politicians regularly come to NYC to kiss his ring. The article below (esp. section entitled Restler’s Rise) published in an award wining progressive weekly follows the money and goes where NYC journalists won't:
Oct. 31, 2011, 6:28 am
Tony from Park Slope says:
Vito Lopez is a crook. Why doesn't Brooklyn Paper give us figures for the number of people "marching and be sure to break out politicians and their staffs from regular folk.

Yeah, I know. That would be "in-depth_ reporting. Not gonna happen here.
Oct. 31, 2011, 6:58 am
blue from williamsburg says:
Oct. 31, 2011, 8:43 am
anywho says:
I knew this article would bring "Katie" out, BINGO!
Oct. 31, 2011, 9:23 am
gaston from brooklyn says:
Thanks for writing an article based on my comment! Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and it was gracious of you to mention me so prominently in this article!


Oct. 31, 2011, 9:26 am
Johnson from Bed-Stuy says:
I don't know much about Lopez, but his income seems legit and if he DIDN'T go to OWS, you'd probably be writing about that. I support OWS and feel at least he did make an effort to support OWS, too. He may be corrupt for all I know (I don't follow Bklyn politics) -- or not -- but this article doesn't say anything to that. I am neutral on Lopez but it does seem this paper has an agenda. (Which is OK since it is obvious.)
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:32 pm
Joey Bots says:
liberals is dum....
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:33 pm
josh from bushwick says:
the tea party murdoch nypost is trying to portray that OWS are complaining abou the fact that there is a top 1%, and if you are in the top 1% you are guilty by association, thats NOT the problem, there is always gonna be a top 1% and we know that. the problem is how they behave, we wish that everybody in the top 1% should behave like Vito Lopez, if everybody in the top 1% would be like Vito Lopez, there wouldn't be no OWS.

Keep on Vito,
Oct. 31, 2011, 12:56 pm
Katie is Steve Levin says:
I love how Steve Levin wakes up extra early to troll the comments section in defense of his mentor, Vito Lopez. It's kind of endearing.
Oct. 31, 2011, 4:34 pm
Bill is Steve Levin too says:
And it's kind of cute that Steve Levin spent an extra thirty minutes of internet research before posting as Bill.

I also like the skillful way that "Bill" tries to pivot away from the issue at hand. Extra points for effective transitions!
Oct. 31, 2011, 4:36 pm
bill from glendale says:
vito and his girlfriend should be in jail she is a two face witch and vito is a crook we will march soon in front of the center until she is fired thats our tax dollars wake up people THE DA DONE NOTHING NOW ITS UP TO US TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE STAY TUNE FOR DATES OF PROTEST
Oct. 31, 2011, 5:02 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Read this thread convinces me once again that Brooklyn Paper would be better served if it employed a comments section like its sister paper, the NY Post. Then we could know who is worse, "steve levin" for posing as "[katie or bill", or "steve levin is [katie or bill]." I'm just saying that this type of comments section casts a pall over the veracity of EVERYONE's comments. Are we all just blowing hot air, or do we take anyone's comments seriously?
Oct. 31, 2011, 5:21 pm
Ozzie from Park Slope says:
Steve is Katie? Debra makes more sense.
Oct. 31, 2011, 5:43 pm
judahSpechal from Bed-stuy says:
The Poverty Pimp is trolling. Watch that back hand!
Oct. 31, 2011, 6:03 pm
Katie from Brooklyn says:
Sorry, I'm not Steve Levin, or Bill. And unfortunately, I don't wake up extra early, my kids do. Only someone that doesn't have kids would think 7am is "extra early." I guess I used to too.
Oct. 31, 2011, 7:10 pm
josh from Bushwick says:
Is the writer from this story getting paid only for the story, or also for the comments?
Nov. 1, 2011, 9:49 am

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