State Watch

Former Cuomo aide says governor kissed her without consent

A former aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday accused the governor of kissing her without her consent and making inappropriate remarks while she worked in his office.

Lindsey Boylan had previously gone public with allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo but offered further details in a Medium post on Wednesday.

Boylan, who is a candidate for Manhattan borough president, alleged in the post that Cuomo suggested the two of them “play strip poker” on a flight in October 2017. She also said another aide emailed her that Cuomo thought she resembled his rumored ex-girlfriend Lisa Shields, saying they “could be sisters,” with Boylan as “the better-looking sister.”

Cuomo’s office has denied Boylan’s account of the flight in question. Former Cuomo adviser John Maggiore, former Empire State Development CEO Howard Zemsky, former press secretary Dani Lever and former first deputy press secretary Abbey Fashouer Collins said in a statement they were present on the flights and they heard no such conversation, according to The Associated Press.

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Cuomo’s office said, “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.”

Boylan alleged Cuomo was notorious for inappropriate behavior toward female aides, saying two other former staffers, who she did not name, have told her he harassed them as well.

Cuomo, she wrote, also “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” with the final straw coming in 2018 when she allegedly he kissed her. Boylan said her relationship with the governor’s senior staff eroded over the next months and she resigned that September.

“Telling my truth isn’t about seeking revenge. I was proud to work in the Cuomo Administration. For so long I had looked up to the Governor. But his abusive behavior needs to stop,” she wrote. “I am speaking up because I have the privilege to do so when many others do not. No one should have to be defined or destroyed by this kind of sexual harassment. Nor should they be revictimized if they decide to speak their own truth.”

Personnel records reviewed by the AP showed Boylan resigned after aides complained that she had belittled and shouted at them, which Boylan said were “leaked to the media in an effort to smear me.”

The more detailed account comes as Cuomo, who saw his popularity surge during the coronavirus pandemic, has come under fire for allegedly withholding data on coronavirus outbreaks in nursing homes. Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) has alleged Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him over his criticisms of Cuomo’s handling of the issue.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Lindsey Boylan
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