Queens Councilman Francisco Moya is one of several members of the city’s legislative body vying to become its next speaker, but his record when it comes to sexual harassment could prove to be a non-starter for some — especially given the fact that the 51-member Council will include more than 30 women lawmakers next year.
The harassment I went through at NYCFC was so bad that now the idea of professional sports terrifies me. Staying in the field of athletics terrifies me,” the intern, Skyler Badillo, tweeted on July 17, 2020. “I thought I was getting the opportunity of a life time when I got that internship. What I got was David Villa touching me every f---ing day and my bosses thinking it was great comedic material.”
Villa, who helped Spain to its only World Cup victory in 2010 and retired in 2019, denied the accusations, saying at the time that they were “entirely false.” But without mentioning Villa by name, NYCFC later found that such conduct did, in fact, take place.
One incoming Councilwoman said his silence does not inspire confidence.
“This is part of why there’s a renewed push to have a woman — and specifically a woman of color — at the helm,” she said.
Among those Moya is facing in the Speaker’s race are Council members Adrienne Adams, Carlina Rivera, Diana Ayala, Justin Brannan and Keith Powers.
When asked about his silence on Villa, Moya claimed on Monday that he barely knew the retired striker.
“I have not spoken to David Villa in years. And I intentionally ran against convicted sexual assaulter, Hiram Monserrate, to prevent him from serving my community,” Moya said, referring to the former lawmaker who was ejected from the state Senate in 2010 after being caught on tape dragging his then-girlfriend by the hair. “This is a transparent effort to take down a Latino frontrunner for speaker. I thought that we had moved beyond this kind of despicable politics in our city.”
But, as Moya tries to court the support of fellow Council members who’ll vote to choose their next Speaker after the New Year, his record from years earlier in the state Assembly could come back to haunt him as well.
In 2013, after the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics found that then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver attempted to cover up sexual harassment charges against the now-deceased and disgraced ex-Assemblyman Vito Lopez, Moya circulated a letter within the body’s powerful Black, Hispanic and Puerto Rican caucus defending Silver.
“He’s really pushed and pushed the progressive agenda when the Senate hasn’t done anything and the governor’s been silent,” Moya said at the time.