A former assistant to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, said the governor subjected her to “widespread harassment” during her years working for him, including numerous inappropriate comments in front of other people and a kiss on lips while they were alone.
“Let’s play strip poker,” former assistant Lindsey Boylan told him on one occasion.
“I am compelled to tell my story because no woman should feel pressured to hide her experiences of bullying, harassment and humiliation in the workplace – neither by the governor nor by anyone else. other, ”Boylan wrote in an essay published Wednesday on the Medium website.
Boylan, now running for president of the Manhattan borough in New York City, worked for the Cuomo administration between 2015 and 2018 as assistant secretary for economic development and special adviser to the governor.
She tweeted in December that Cuomo had sexually harassed her “for years” – an accusation the three-term Democratic governor denied as “just plain false” – but did not give details at the time.
In the Medium essay, Boylan said his troubles started after he first met the governor at an event in Manhattan in January 2016.
“My boss quickly informed me that the governor had a ‘crush’ on me,” Boylan said.
Over time, she wrote, she complained to friends that Cuomo would “go out of his way to touch my lower back, arms and legs.”
The strip poker comment apparently came when Boylan and Cuomo were returning home after an event in western New York City aboard his “taxpayer-funded jet” in October 2017.
“He was sitting across from me, so close our knees almost touched. His press assistant was on my right and a state soldier behind us,” Boylan wrote. She said after making the rude comment she replied sarcastically, “That’s exactly what I thought.”
“I tried to play cool. But then I realized how much I had become consenting, ”she wrote.
She said the harassment “was just beyond me. He made unflattering comments about the weight of female colleagues. He ridiculed them about their romantic relationships and other important people. He said the reasons why men get women were “money and power”.
She said she tried to console herself by saying it was just words, but that Cuomo then crossed another line in 2018, after giving her an individual briefing on economic and infrastructure projects in his Manhattan office.
“As I got up to leave and walked towards an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking, ”she wrote.
“After that, my fears got worse. I came to work nauseous every day. she wrote. She resigned in September 2018.
Cuomo’s office has denied the latest allegations.
“As we have said before, the allegations of inappropriate behavior by Ms. Boylan are simply false,” press secretary Caitlin Girouard said in a statement.
Girouard issued a statement on behalf of four other Cuomo employees who took flights with Boylan and Cuomo in 2017, saying, “We were on each of those October flights and this conversation did not take place.”
Girouard said the manifestos of Cuomo’s flights in October 2017 show that there was “no flight where Lindsey was alone with the governor, a single press secretary and a NYS Trooper,” although the trial of Boylan does not indicate that they are the only people on the flight.
Boylan did not respond to requests for comment.
In her essay, she cited State Assembly Ron Kim’s decision to speak out against the “harassment” he said he received from Cuomo as part of why she is speaking out now. Kim, a Democrat, said Cuomo had vowed to “destroy” him for criticizing his handling of Covid-19 outbreaks in nursing homes.
Cuomo has denied doing it last week. “I didn’t say anything about assemblyman Ron Kim. He attacked me, ”Cuomo told reporters.
Boylan wrote that she “is not seeking revenge. I was proud to work in the Cuomo administration. For so long I had admired the Governor. But his abusive behavior must stop.”