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Cuomo's Office Denies Sexual Harassment Charges

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivers a COVID-19 briefing in February
Credit: Gov. Cuomo's Office

Gov. Cuomo Accused of Sexual Harassment

Two former female aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo are accusing him of bad behavior, with one saying the governor sexually harassed her in incidents that included inappropriate touching and an invitation to play strip poker. Cuomo denies the allegations.

Lindsey Boylan, in a piece on the on line forum Medium,  said Cuomo invited her to play strip poker when she and the governor were alone during an October 2017 business flight on the governor’s private plane. 

Boylan, who was then a top advisor to the governor on economic development,  also accused him of inappropriately making remarks about her appearance and touching her. 

She said she received an unwelcome kiss from Cuomo when she was alone with him in his New York City office in 2018.

Boylan resigned her post in September of 2018, and is now running for Manhattan Borough President.

Boylan first referenced her allegations in a tweet last December, though refused to give more details at the time. Cuomo, in December, denied the allegations.

“It’s not true,” Cuomo said, “Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has the right to come forward and express her opening and express issues and concerns that she has. But it’s just not true.”

A spokeswoman for Cuomo, Caitlin Girouard, in a statement Wednesday denied the most recent charges, saying the “claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.”

Cuomo's office released the flight manifest from all trips taken on the governor’s plane in October 2017, along with the testimony of four of the governor’s top staffers, who said they were on the flights and that Boylan was not alone with the governor.

John Maggiore, a senior advisor to Cuomo, Howard Zemsky, who was then president of the state's Empire State Development Agency, and former top press officials Dani Lever and Abbey Fashouer Collins, said in a joint statement: "We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen."

The second-highest ranking woman in state government, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, did not rush to defend the governor. 

In a statement, Stewart-Cousins, D-Westchester, said the account was “deeply disturbing” and that there is “no place for this type of behavior in the workplace or anywhere else.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also weighed in, saying in a statement that he considers the allegations “serious” and said “harassment in the workplace of any kind should not be tolerated.”

Boylan is not the only woman to make charges against Cuomo, who is already under fire for his handling of nursing home data during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karen Hinton, a former aide to Cuomo, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, called out both men on their political styles, which she said are demeaning and disrespectful to male and female staffers. 

In an essay in the Daily News, Hinton said Cuomo’s “penchant for bullying” is “the norm.” 

Hinton describes first working for Cuomo when he worked in the Clinton administration more than two decades ago, saying he got her the job, and then worked to undermine her. 

“Working for him is like a 1950′s version of marriage. He always, always, always comes first," Hinton wrote.

The governor and his office did not respond to Hinton’s charges.