Lindsey Boylan, former assistant to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said she resigned in 2018 after forcibly kissing her in a meeting.
Boylan – who is running for president from the Manhattan borough – had previously accused Cuomo of repeated harassment, but she didn’t give many details until she posted an article on Medium on Wednesday.
“My boss quickly informed me that the governor had a crush on me,” Boylan wrote. “It was an uncomfortable feeling but all too familiar: the struggle to be taken seriously by a powerful man who tied my worth to my body and my appearance.
Boylan alleged that Cuomo compared her to a former girlfriend and asked her to play strip poker. “Telling my truth is not about 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, ”she wrote.
The allegations come at a time of political peril for the longtime governor, once a Liberal darling for his Emmy-winning television hits at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He is criticized for his handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes and clouded by allegations of intimidation and arming of lawmakers, as a bipartisan group of state lawmakers seek to reduce his emergency powers.
According to Boylan, the kiss took place “after a one-on-one meeting with the governor to keep him updated on economic and infrastructure projects.”
“We were in his New York office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk towards an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips, ”she wrote.
After the kiss, Boylan said, she walked past the desk of another Cuomo employee, Stephanie Benton. Boylan’s Medium post also included a screenshot from 2016, allegedly of Benton, that the Governor wanted Boylan to know that she “could be a sister” to alleged Cuomo ex Lisa Shields, “except you’re the most sister-in-law, ”the screenshot shows.
Boylan worked for the Cuomo administration from 2015 to 2018, primarily as a chief of staff for the state’s economic development agency, according to his LinkedIn page. She said she quit in September that year – months after the kiss – having come “to work nauseous every day” after the incident.
“My relationship with her senior team – mostly women – turned hostile after I started speaking on my behalf,” she added.
Boylan added that she had told friends the governor would do everything possible to touch her “on her lower back, arms and legs.” In her Medium post, she included alleged screenshots of texts with her mother after the governor’s office emailed her about whether she would appear at an event.
“He’s a sexist pig and you should avoid being alone with him!” Boylan’s mother wrote, from the screenshot.
Cuomo denied Boylan’s claims when she first raised them in December. “As we have said before, the allegations of inappropriate behavior by Ms. Boylan are simply false,” Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard said on Wednesday.
Girouard’s statement provided flight logs and a quote from four former and current Cuomo associates to challenge Boylan’s claim that Cuomo asked her to play strip poker while on a private flight in 2017 with Cuomo, a press secretary and a state soldier. “We were on each of those October flights and that conversation didn’t happen,” the assistants’ quote said.
The statement does not address any of the other allegations.
Another former Cuomo collaborator, Alexis Grenell, wrote a column in The nation criticizing his aggressive style, although she did not accuse him of sexual misconduct.
“The legislature has become increasingly young and feminine, defining a feminist vision of leadership and conduct in the workplace,” said Grenell The New York Times earlier this week. “It’s no accident that his loudest critics are young women.”
Last week, New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, alleged that Cuomo threatened to “destroy” him after he called for an investigation into Cuomo’s COVID-19 nursing home response .
“Cuomo is a coward who abused his powers,” Kim wrote on Twitter Wednesday, Sharing Boylan’s post. “As a legislator, I have a duty to hold him accountable. I will not withdraw. I’ll be alongside Lindsey Boylan. “
After the New York Post released audio of Cuomo’s aide Melissa DeRosa admitting the undercoverage of nursing home deaths, several state lawmakers called on him to be stripped of his emergency powers.
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