ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Two women who accused an assemblyman of sexual harassment are suing him and powerful Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his role in a secret settlement of previous claims.

The two women say they were hired by Assemblyman Vito Lopez last year and were subjected to sexual harassment by the Brooklyn Democrat.

Just weeks before, Silver had settled claims by two other women against Lopez in a secret deal using $103,000 in public money.

The two women filed the civil suit in U.S. District Court Thursday.

Lopez has denied sexually harassing anyone. He has resigned his seat to run for New York City Council.

He faces civil charges recommended by the state ethics board.

Silver has admitted mistakes, made an extraordinary apology and is proposing reforms.