State Senator Hiram Monserrate (D-Queens) avoided being convicted of a felony yesterday (though he was convicted of misdemeanor assault) stemming from an altercation with his girlfriend, Karla Giraldo. Sen. Monserrate has been a vocal ally for the tenant movement in its fight to repeal vacancy decontrol, though he co-led the coup this past summer along with Senator Pedro Espada Jr. – which other senators believed was linked to the real estate industry in order to sink rent reform.
“I believe Hiram Monserrate should not remain in the Senate, and for the sake of his constituents, the institution of the Senate and the Democratic party he should resign immediately based on the seriousness of his violent crime.
Being an elected official is an honor and a privilege, not a right. As a state legislator, the voters give you the power to decide what laws all 19 million of us live under. And as such we are obligated to hold ourselves to the highest standards of our laws.
The justice system has determined that Mr. Monserrate has violated our laws and is guilty of a very disturbing and violent crime against a woman. Domestic violence is a scourge on our society, and an issue which I believe requires us to speak out. Only through speaking out can we work to prevent more violence, support survivors, end the stigma and fear that victims deal with, and advocate for stronger penalties for those who believe they are above the law and violate another human being.
The Senate is exploring our institutional legal options now that the Courts have ruled, but haven’t yet issued a sentence. For me, the length of the sentence does not matter – domestic violence is domestic violence, guilt is guilt. Therefore, I believe Hiram Monserrate should not remain in the Senate.”
At his September town hall meeting, Krueger ally, Senator Tom Duane (D-Manhattan) said:
“My dedication to the cause of tenants and rent regulation has been the reason—I would have to say the biggest reason—that I ran for office to begin with,” Duane noted of his commitment to the issue. He contended that the Senate power struggle originally stemmed from the issue due to the landlord lobby’s influence in
“The coup—there’s no doubt in my mind at all that it was about real estate. But they’re not going to win,” he said. “I don’t care how powerful they think they are—people think they are—we are going to come down firmly on the side of tenants and ending vacancy decontrol, and if I have my way, expanding regulation and preserving more affordable housing.”
Duane also had strong words for Monserrate (prior to the trial):
“Of course everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and I also think that—from what I’ve read in the papers, from what I know of the case—it seems to me like a classic case of domestic violence where the victim changes their story after the fact,” Duane said of the incident, where Monserrate allegedly slashed girlfriend Karla Giraldo in the face with a broken glass. (She denied the charges despite video evidence showing him chasing and violently grabbing her the night of the incident.)
“I believe that the DA in