Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, speaks to reporters during a press conference at a COVID-19 pop-up vaccination center in the William Reid Apartments in Brooklyn, New York City, the United States, on Jan. 23, 2021.
Mary Altaffer | Reuters
A former adjutant to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accused the governor of kissing her without her consent while she served as assistant secretary for economic development in 2018.
Lindsey Boylan, now a candidate for President of the Manhattan borough, posted a more detailed account of her allegations against her former boss in a blog post on Wednesday. Boylan had previously published her allegations against the governor in December, though she did not elaborate on the details of his alleged harassment at the time.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Cuomo said in December that Boylan’s initial allegations were “not true”.
The new details emerged when Cuomo cracked down on allegations of mistreating data and policies for nursing homes at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in New York last year.
The U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into nursing home deaths related to coronavirus in the state. New York Attorney General Letitia James, Cuomo’s Democratic colleague, released a report last month saying the state had reported Covid-19 nursing home deaths of up to 50%.
Cuomo’s behavior towards colleagues was re-examined after New York MP Ron Kim accused the governor of swearing to “destroy” him after Kim criticized Cuomo’s handling of outbreaks in nursing homes. Cuomo’s senior advisor denied that Kim’s claim was true.
In her blog post on Wednesday, Boylan referred to Kim’s allegations and expanded them herself, including screenshots of emails from her time as governor.
Boylan said after first meeting the governor in 2016, her boss said Cuomo had a crush on her. She said she later complained to friends that he would “go out of his way to touch my lower back, arms and legs”.
She also alleged Cuomo “made unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues” and “mocked her at their romantic relationships and significant others”.
“I tried to apologize for his behavior,” wrote Boylan. “I told myself it was just words.” However, this changed after a face-to-face interview with the governor to keep him updated on economic and infrastructure projects. We were in his New York office on Third Avenue. When I got up to go to an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed my lips. I was shocked, but I kept walking. “
Writing that she feared a staff member saw the kiss, Boylan wrote, “The idea that someone might believe I held my high-level position because the governor had a crush on me was more humiliating than the kiss itself.”
Boylan said she announced her resignation in September 2018.
She also shared a screenshot of a 2016 email that appeared to be from Stephanie Benton, the governor’s office director. Cuomo suggested that Boylan look up pictures of his rumored ex-girlfriend because, “You could be sisters. Unless you’re the better-looking sister.”
She accused high-ranking women in Cuomo’s office of creating a culture that “normalized” the behavior of their boss and called top advisor Melissa DeRosa by name. She said two other women informed her of their own experiences with the governor after posting her original allegations online in December.
“One described living in constant fear and fear of what would happen to her if she refused the governor’s advances. The other said she had been instructed by the governor to warn associates who pissed him off that theirs.” Jobs could be at risk. Both said I’m too afraid to speak up, “wrote Boylan.
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