Former Cuomo aide Boylan details alleged sex harassment by governor; administration denies it happened

U.S. Congressional Candidate Lindsey Boylan (Photo provided by Boylan Chief of Staff Veronica Calhoun)
Lindsey Boylan (Photo provided by Boylan Chief of Staff Veronica Calhoun)

Lindsey Boylan, a former aide in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, revealed details in a Medium post Wednesday about her claims that the three-term lawmaker had sexually harassed her — something which officials close to the governor claimed never took place.

“We were flying home from an October 2017 event in Western New York on his taxpayer-funded jet. He was seated facing me, so close our knees almost touched. His press aide was to my right and a state trooper behind us,” Boylan wrote on Medium. “Governor Andrew Cuomo has created a culture within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected. His inappropriate behavior toward women was an affirmation that he liked you, that you must be doing something right. He used intimidation to silence his critics. And if you dared to speak up, you would face consequences.”

Boylan, who ran for Congress last year and is now running for Manhattan borough president, said that she panicked on the morning she made her initial allegations on Dec. 13 in a series of tweets.

She stated that Cuomo had made remarks about her appearance during her tenure in his administration as chief of staff for Empire State Development. At the time, Boylan refused to speak with the media to elaborate on the accusations, which Cuomo himself said were not true.

Press Secretary to the governor Caitlin Girouad told the press on Wednesday afternoon: “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.”

Moreover, four other attachés said an explicit conversation from October 2017 never happened, the administration claims.

Policy director John Maggiore, Empire State Development president Howard Zemsky, press secretary Dani Lever and first deputy secretary of protective services Abbey Fashouer Collins were on the flight manifest for Oct. 4 and Oct. 6 of that year in which Cuomo allegedly proposed a game of strip poker with Boylan.

All four, according to Cuomo’s office, have come out against the allegations in a simple joint statement: “We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo.(Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Cuomo, who had gained popularity nationwide last year for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, is now awash in controversy as he eyes a fourth term in 2022.

Last month, state Attorney General Letitia James issued a report which found that the Cuomo administration undercounted the number of COVID-19 deaths in New York nursing homes.

Two weeks ago, it was reported that Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa told state lawmakers that the administration delayed releasing nursing home death data to them while complying with a federal Justice Department request for the same — further bristling lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

On Feb. 15, Cuomo admitted that delay created what he called a “void” in the narrative that was then exploited by political opponents and conspiracy theorists. He later vowed to be more aggressive at calling out what he deemed to be misinformation.

Then, on Feb. 17, Cuomo ripped into Queens Assemblyman Ron Kim, who had been critical of Cuomo over the nursing home death data controversy, during a conference call with reporters. Kim has since spoke with numerous media outlets, including amNewYork Metro, about an angry call he said he received from the governor amid the imbroglio.

The episode led to further allegations, including from Mayor Bill de Blasio, that the governor has engaged in bullying with others in New York government.