June 2, 2023 By Christian Murray
Queens Community Board 2 dealt Assembly Member Juan Ardila another political blow Thursday night by passing a “no confidence” resolution in the wake of two sexual abuse allegations that surfaced in March.
The board, by a near-unanimous vote, said that Ardila, a first-term Democrat, is unable to represent his western Queens district effectively. For instance, the board said that Ardila’s colleagues in Albany refuse to work with him given the sexual abuse allegations, which pertain to his actions at a college party in 2015.
The non-binding resolution, approved by a 34-1 vote, stated that the board has “no confidence in Assembly Member’s Ardila’s ability to represent his constituents within Community Board 2. CB2 is deeply concerned that constituents are not receiving the representation they are due.”
The resolution reads, in part, that his elected colleagues “are unwilling to work with him and that he has not been fully engaged in the legislative activities for which he was elected, and that, therefore, the district has suffered by his lack of effective advocacy.”
Last month, Ardila attended the May Board 2 meeting, and was lampooned by the board members and his fellow elected officials. At the meeting, Ardila did not answer questions pertaining to the allegations and said they were a personal matter. He told the board that he would answer the public’s questions in due course.
Ardila has been accused of inappropriately touching one woman on a couch while she was intoxicated at a November 2015 party and forcing himself on another woman in the bathroom that same night. He has not denied the accusations and has not spoken on the issue since March 14.
The no-confidence vote Thursday was also in response to Ardila’s failure to address the issue with the public, the board said.
“Assembly Member Ardila has failed to respond in a timely and public manner…His constituents deserve to know the truth,” the resolution also reads.
Zeeshan Ott, a board member, said that he voted for Ardila in last year’s election but that the board needed to speak up on behalf of the community and make it clear that sexual assault is not tolerated.
“I voted for the assembly member and was really excited about what he was going to bring to this office,” said Ott, a Long Island City resident. However, he added, the sexual abuse allegations made it “important that we take a strong stand.”
The only board member to oppose the resolution was Osman Chowdhury, a Sunnyside resident.
State Sen. Kristen Gonzalez, whose district incorporates western Queens, told the board at the May meeting that Ardila’s colleagues in Albany are distancing themselves from hm.
Gonzalez, who said she is a sexual assault survivor, said: “You are not receiving the representation that you deserve.”
Last month, Ardila was stripped of his control of $250,000 in state funding that is to be used to benefit community groups in his district. The funds, as first reported by the NY Post, will be handled by Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, who represents an adjacent Queens district.
Dozens of elected officials have called for Ardila to resign, including Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Congress Member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Furthermore, the alleged victims have also called for him to step down.
Council Member Julie Won, who represents western Queens, has been a fierce critic and is also calling for him to resign. She attended the May meeting and demanded answers.
“You have to explain why you’re refusing to resign,” Won told Ardila at the meeting. “You cannot ignore the victims who are calling for you to step down–and say nothing.”