NEW YORK – A former aide to Governor Andrew Cuomo said the governor had kissed her without her consent and asked her to play strip poker, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment which she detailed in a new account on Wednesday.
Lindsey Boylan, who is running for president of the Manhattan borough and who previously worked for Cuomo and the state’s economic development agency, wrote in a Medium article that Cuomo had kissed her on the lips against at will in his Manhattan office.
The former staff member’s accusations come as the governor is inundated with accusations he was covering up coronavirus deaths at New York nursing homes. The fallout led to accusations in New York politics about Cuomo’s tyrannical behavior – including a recent allegation by Assembly Member Ron Kim who said the governor was threatening to “destroy” him because of the Kim’s criticism of the nursing home debacle.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only tolerated but expected. His inappropriate behavior towards women was an assertion that he loved you, that you have to do something right, ”Boylan wrote. “He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would suffer the consequences.
Boylan said the kiss took place after giving the governor an individual briefing on the state’s economic and infrastructure projects.
“We were in his New York office on Third Avenue. 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 kept walking, ”Boylan wrote.
She said she left the office of another staff member. “I was afraid she saw the kiss. The idea that someone might think I held my high-ranking position because of the governor’s ‘crush’ on me was more humiliating than the kiss itself, ”she wrote. “After that, my fears got worse. I came to work nauseous every day. My relationship with his senior team – mostly women – turned hostile after I started speaking on my behalf. I was reprimanded and asked to stand in line by his main collaborators, but I could no longer ignore him.
Boylan first accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in December, but went into detail for the first time on Wednesday. Cuomo has previously denied Boylan’s claims.
“Look, I fought for and I believe a woman has a right to come forward and voice her opinion, and voice her issues and concerns,” Cuomo said in December. “But that’s just not true.”
Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday. Boylan could not be reached for comment either.
As of 2015, Boylan was Vice President and then Chief of Staff of Empire State Development. She went on to become assistant secretary for economic development and special advisor to the governor, a post she said she initially refused because she was uncomfortable with Cuomo, but eventually agreed, at her insistence, with the okay she would work on another floor. She ran unsuccessfully for Congress against Rep. Jerry Nadler last year.
In October 2017, Boylan said she was flying on Cuomo’s government jet after an event in western New York.
“Let’s play strip poker,” she said, quoting the governor as they sat face to face, close enough that their knees almost touch, in the presence of a state soldier and a soldier. Press officer.
She said she tried to eliminate the comment, answering sarcastically, “That’s exactly what I thought.”
The former assistant said she first chose to go public with her harassment accusations when she heard Cuomo’s name float as a candidate for the United States attorney general in December.
“I am compelled to tell my story because no woman should feel pressured to hide her experiences of bullying, harassment and humiliation at work – neither by the governor nor by anyone else”, she wrote on Wednesday. “I expect the governor and his key staff to try to disparage me further, just like they did with the assembly Kim. They would lose their jobs if they didn’t protect it. This is how his administration works. I know because I was one of them.
Boylan said that shortly after first meeting Cuomo in 2016 at an event at Madison Square Garden to promote the Pennsylvania Station-Farley Complex project, her boss told her the governor had a crush on her.
Another staff member told him that Cuomo suggested he look for pictures of Lisa Shields, his former girlfriend, because “we could be sisters” and she was “the most beautiful sister” and then started to call her Lisa in front of colleagues. Boylan’s post included screenshots of some of the emails and texts she exchanged with her family and colleagues about the governor’s behavior.
Cuomo also affected her lower back, arms and legs, Boylan said.
She also described being summoned to Cuomo’s office where he showed a cigar box that was a gift from former President Bill Clinton, which she took as a reference to Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.
The governor commented negatively on the weight of female colleagues and their personal relationships, Boylan said.
“Telling my truth is not about seeking revenge. I was proud to work in the Cuomo administration, “Boylan wrote.” For so long I had admired the governor. But his abusive behavior must stop. ”
Anna Gronewold contributed to this report.