Former Aide Alleges Governor Cuomo Has Been Sexually Harassing Women in His Administration for Years

Image for article titled Former Aide Alleges Governor Cuomo Has Been Sexually Harassing Women in His Administration for Years
Image: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

Lindsey Boylan, who in 2018 was the Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Special Advisor to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo published an essay on Medium Wednesday morning detailing her time working in the Cuomo administration. After accusing the governor of harassment in a series of tweets in December of last year, Boylan is now saying that other women have come to her claiming they have been harassed by Cuomo as well and are not willing to come forward for fear of retaliation. She writes on Medium, “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.”

Advertisement

According to Boylan’s account, she first met the governor in 2016 at Madison Square Garden during a promotional event for the Penn Station Farley Complex. “After his speech, he stopped to talk to me,” she writes, adding that she was surprised how much attention she was receiving. Shortly after that first meet, Boylan’s supervisor told her that the governor had a crush on her.

Boylan also includes three screenshots as evidence of her claims. One is an email between herself and Stephanie Benton, Director of the Governor’s Offices at the time who told Boylan that Cuomo “suggested I look up images of Lisa Shields — his rumored former girlfriend — because ‘we could be sisters’ and I was ‘the better-looking sister’.” Boylan says that Cuomo began referring to her as Lisa in front of other people.

As evidence of her claim that Cuomo and his office started keeping tabs on Boylan’s location unnecessarily, she includes a screenshot of an email exchange between her boss, Howard Zemsky, and Cuomo’s Director of Scheduling. The Director asks Zemsky if Boylan will be present at a specific event to which Zemsky replies, “She’s gonna be at the slats in Albany...but it will be hard for her to concentrate on the presentations while worrying about how the governor’s day is going in Rochester.”

Boylan writes that it wasn’t until 2016 that she started to “truly fear” Cuomo’s constant unwanted advances. She says during a holiday even in 2016, Cuomo had a “body person” bring Boylan to his private office and the two were in there alone. She writes that Cuomo showed her around the office and made mention of a cigar box that had been gifted to him by Bill Clinton. She tried to rationalize the incident, happy that at the very least he hadn’t touched her but still dreading going to work in his administration.

Boylan was promoted to her advisory position in 2018 and explains, “I initially turned the job down — not because I didn’t want the responsibility or work but because I didn’t want to be near him.” She claims that she accepted the position after the governor’s “insistence” under the condition that she didn’t have to move offices and could remain on a completely separate floor from Cuomo and his “inner circle.” Boylan claims that after months of comments and unwanted touching, Cuomo forcibly kissed her while they were both in his New York City office. “My relationship with [Cuomo’s] senior team — mostly women — grew hostile after I started speaking up for myself,” she writes of her experience continuing to work for Cuomo after the alleged kissing incident. “I was reprimanded and told to get in line by his top aides, but I could no longer ignore it.”

Advertisement

Boylan resigned in September of 2018 and claims she had no intention of going public with her experience until she saw that Cuomo was being considered for the position of US Attorney General.

On Wednesday afternoon after Boylan’s blog went live, the Cuomo administration released a statement through the governor’s website which says:

“As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.”

In Ms. Boylan’s latest blog post, she opens up with a story about a plane trip in October 2017 - the manifests of all flights from October 2017 can be found below - there was no flight where Lindsey was alone with the Governor, a single press aide, and a NYS Trooper. Below is a statement that can be attributed to John Maggiore, Howard Zemsky, Dani Lever and Abbey Fashouer Collins who were on all of these flights with her:

“We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen.”

The remainder of the statement lists several flight itineraries including dates, times, and passenger manifests of any instance Boylan traveled with Cuomo and the other people she claimed had heard him make an inappropriate comment to her. “ There are many more of us,” Boylan writes on behalf of those who have experienced bullying and harassment at the hands of the governor. “But most are too afraid to speak up.”

DISCUSSION

By
canyouguess

I never have really paid attention to Cuomo in his role as governor. Last spring though when the pandemic situation in New York was dire, the fact that he got on television pretty much every day with some straight talk was impressive. So then I supposed that because he was the right guy in that spot at that time, he must be a pretty talented politician. And then I remembered that I thought Avenatti was a hell of a lawyer when he was representing Daniels and snarling at Trump.  Unfortunately they both have feet of clay in so many other ways.