About 20 protestors attended, while about 100 supporters came out for the fundraiser inside. Lopez would later say that the protesting energized his supporters and it only intensified their desire to back him.
“The overwhelming majority of community leaders and members that had to walk though [the protest] were repulsed and it only intensified their support for me,” he said.
Protestors are upset over Lopez’s possible run for North Brooklyn's 34th Council District in light of sexual abuse allegations that forced Lopez to resign as head of the Kings County Democratic Party.
Lopez has said that he will make a decision regarding a run for the seat depending on his ability to raise funds coupled with his health condition. He currently has plans to hold at least four more fundraising events.
The New Kings Democrats organized the protest.
“Vito Lopez belongs in jail not our City Council,” said former district leader Lincoln Restler, an outspoken Lopez critic who narrowly lost his seat to a Lopez-backed challenger last year.
Reporters were barred from attending the fundraiser. Staff said that Giando’s on the Water was a private establishment and refused to let anyone on the property who was not on the guest list.
Lopez praised the fundraiser as a success saying that it was a true reflection of the community. He said that 80 out of the 100 guests in attendance were minorities that directly represented the make-up of North Brooklyn.
The assemblyman also said that 90 percent of those who attended the dinner were residents of the district, evidence that he maintains a strong base of support in the community.
“It’s outrageous that a person who harasses young women would consider running for City Council,” said protestor Shirley Ranz, president of the Brooklyn/Queens chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
NOW has officially endorsed Antonio Reynoso, chief of staff for the current council member, Diana Reyna.
“Anyone who is in that building right now giving money to Vito Lopez should really be ashamed of themselves,” Ranz said.