Report: One of Cuomo’s closest advisers, Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, resigns

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Delievers his Daily Coronavirus Briefing in New York City
Melissa DeRosa, as shown in this September 2020 photo.
Kevin P. Coughlin / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Govenror Andrew Cuomo has reportedly lost one of his closest advisers amid the biggest scandal of his career.

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa has quit her post, NY1 News reported Sunday evening. DeRosa’s reported departure comes nearly a week after state Attorney General Letitia James released her report on the independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo.

The report had also alleged that Cuomo’s administration had also enabled “a toxic work environment” in the Executive Chamber that sought retaliation against Lindsey Boylan, one of the 11 women who came forward in the independent investigation to allege that the governor sexually harassed them. The report also alleged that DeRosa took part in an effort to help cover up some of the claims.

Although DeRosa appears to have departed the Cuomo administration, the governor has resisted calls for him to step aside — and his attorneys have disputed a number of details in James’ report.

DeRosa made no mention of the unfolding scandal in her resignation statement.

“Personally, the past two years have been emotionally and mentally draining,” DeRosa wrote in a statement NY1 News obtained. “I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of the state.”

DeRosa joined the Cuomo administration in 2013 and had become one of Cuomo’s closest advisers. She became a fixture of the daily press briefings the governor held during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.

But DeRosa had come under fire earlier this year amid the controversy surrounding the Cuomo administration’s reporting of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes. In February, she apologized to lawmakers at a closed-door meeting for withholding the data in 2020, allegedly out of fear that the data would be used against them politically by the previous presidential administration.

Cuomo and DeRosa later clarified that the administration ultimately cooperated with a Justice Department request for nursing home death information.