“He’s a sexist pig and it’s best to keep away from being alone with him!” Boylan’s mom texted her at one level about Cuomo, based on pictures of the trade.
Boylan’s account Wednesday got here as Cuomo and his administration are already embroiled in scandal, and below new fireplace from each Republicans and Democrats for withholding knowledge on coronavirus deaths within the state’s nursing houses. The blowback has more and more centered on Cuomo himself. The third-term governor, who drew accolades and huge recognition early on for his pandemic response, is besieged with accusations of behind-the-scenes bullying.
One of many governor’s critics on nursing houses, a Democratic state legislator, stated final week that Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him throughout an offended cellphone name. One other ex-Cuomo staffer described a poisonous work surroundings for girls in an opinion piece printed Wednesday the New York Each day Information. A refrain of critics in Cuomo’s political orbit — together with Boylan — just lately advised the New York Occasions about fears of Cuomo’s wrath and threats of retaliation.
Boylan, in her publish Wednesday, stated Cuomo’s remedy of her was a part of a deep-rooted, workplace-wide drawback, main some New York lawmakers to name for an investigation. The Democratic chief of the state Senate stated the ex-aide’s claims had been “deeply disturbing.”
Cuomo “has created a tradition inside his administration the place sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it’s not solely condoned however anticipated,” Boylan wrote in her publish on Medium. “His inappropriate conduct towards girls was an affirmation that he favored you, that you simply should be doing one thing proper. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And when you dared to talk up, you’ll face penalties.”
In late 2020, Boylan, whom The Washington Submit couldn’t attain Wednesday, publicly accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her for years, declining on the time to share particulars and drawing denials from the governor.
“Look, I fought for and I consider a lady has the suitable to return ahead and categorical her opinion and categorical points and issues that she has,” Cuomo stated at a information convention final 12 months. “But it surely’s simply not true.”
A spokeswoman for the governor, Caitlin Girouard, reiterated Wednesday that Boylan’s “claims of inappropriate conduct are fairly merely false.” Girouard centered on the previous’s aide’s opening anecdote concerning the governor allegedly suggesting they “play strip poker” whereas seated shut collectively on Cuomo’s jet in October 2017.
4 individuals listed as taking flights with Cuomo and Boylan that month issued a press release way of the governor’s workplace saying that the dialog Boylan described “didn’t occur.” Girouard didn’t touch upon different specifics of Boylan’s account.
Boylan stated she was warned about Cuomo after turning into chief of workers at New York’s financial improvement company: “Watch out across the governor,” she stated an unnamed pal at a civic engagement group advised her.
She stated she first met Cuomo at a 2016 Madison Sq. Backyard occasion the place the governor paid her a shocking quantity of consideration. Then, she stated, her boss advised her about Cuomo’s “crush.”
“It was an uncomfortable however all-too-familiar feeling: the battle to be taken critically a robust man who tied my value to my physique and my look,” Boylan wrote.
Her account of a hostile office for girls specifically was echoed Wednesday Karen Hinton, who labored with Cuomo whereas he was a part of the Clinton administration. Hinton drew a distinction with Cuomo’s outward projections.
“Like many highly effective males in politics, they create a public picture as champions of ladies’s rights and equality,” Hinton wrote Wednesday within the New York Each day Information. “Behind closed doorways, they use gender domination as one means to say their energy over girls.”
Cuomo’s workplace didn’t deal with inquiries about Hinton’s op-ed and broader accusations of a troubling office tradition.
Boylan recounted alleged incidents intimately. She stated the strip poker remark got here throughout a flight in October 2017, as she and Cuomo had been seated collectively, a press aide to at least one facet and a state trooper behind them.
“That’s precisely what I used to be pondering,” she stated she responded, attempting to “play it cool” and realizing “simply how acquiescent I had develop into.”
Girouard on Wednesday shared flight manifests from that month and a press release attributed to others listed onboard: John Maggiore, then director of coverage; Howard Zemsky, then-president of Empire State Improvement; and Dani Lever and Abbey Fashouer Collins, each press secretaries on the time.
“We had been on every of those October flights and this dialog didn’t occur,” the assertion stated. The 4 didn’t reply to The Submit’s requests for remark.
Boylan additionally posted an image of an e mail during which a staffer for the governor advised her that Cuomo steered she search for pictures of one other lady, saying she was that lady’s “higher trying sister.” Cuomo began calling Boylan that lady’s title within the presence of colleagues, Boylan wrote, calling the expertise “degrading.”
At one level, she stated, whereas alone with the governor in his workplace, Cuomo confirmed her a cigar field that he stated was from former president Invoice Clinton, which she interpreted as a reference to Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
“I attempted to rationalize this incident in my head. At the least he didn’t contact me,” Boylan wrote. However later, she alleged, throughout a one-on-one briefing in Cuomo’s New York Metropolis workplace, the governor stepped in entrance of her and kissed her as she tried to go away. She stated she saved strolling, shocked.
Boylan, who finally was promoted to deputy secretary for financial improvement and particular adviser to the governor, stated she resigned in fall 2018 after she “began talking up” for herself and noticed her relationship with prime Cuomo workers deteriorate.
Boylan, a Democrat who final 12 months unsuccessfully sought a seat in Congress, is now working for Manhattan borough president.
She alleged that different Cuomo aides “normalized” his conduct and that two girls reached out to her after she tweeted her sexual harassment allegations in December.
“One described how she lived in fixed concern, petrified of what would occur to her if she rejected the governor’s advances,” Boylan stated, whereas one other recalled the governor telling her to “warn workers members who upset him that their jobs could possibly be in danger.”
By Wednesday afternoon, a number of New York Democrats had issued statements both straight or obliquely condemning Cuomo’s alleged conduct.
“Clearly, there is no such thing as a place for this sort of conduct within the office or wherever else,” stated Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the bulk chief of the State Senate.
Her counterpart within the State Meeting, Carl Heastie, was much less pointed however stated the costs towards Cuomo had been “critical allegations.” And state Sen. Liz Krueger (D), with out mentioning Boylan, stated in a tweet that “all credible allegations of sexual harassment should be taken critically and given an intensive, clear, and impartial investigation.”
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a frequent critic of the governor and his administration, issued a fiery assertion urging Cuomo to resign.
“Any elected official who doesn’t instantly name for his resignation is complicit in permitting a sexual predator to proceed main the good state of New York,” Stefanik stated.
In a Feb. 10 name with Democratic state legislators, first reported the New York Submit, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa stated officers anxious final 12 months that long-withheld info on the covid dying toll in nursing houses can be “used towards us.” “We froze” after inquiries from the Justice Division, she stated.
Cuomo later acknowledged that his administration contributed to a “void” of knowledge however has additionally defended its choices. DeRosa stated officers had been “complete and clear” with the Justice Division.
Amid that controversy, New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) stated Cuomo ordered him in a cellphone name to backtrack on his criticisms, saying “you haven’t seen my wrath.” An adviser to Cuomo stated Kim was mendacity, and the governor stated at a information convention that the legislator has a “lengthy and hostile relationship” together with his workplace.
Boylan, in her Medium publish, recounted her trepidation about publicly accusing Cuomo of harassment in December, saying she had already advised buddies, household and her therapist.
“As messages from journalists buzzed on my cellphone, I laid in mattress unable to maneuver,” she wrote Wednesday. “I lastly had determined to talk up, however at what value?”