Swirling chaos surrounding New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo deepened Wednesday as a former aide accused him of inappropriate behavior, accusations the governor called “quite simply false.”
The former aide, Lindsey Boylan, who worked for the state’s economic development agency, led off a blog post on Wednesday alleging harassment on a plane flight in October of 2017 when she said the governor said that they should play strip poker. Boylan also alleged other incidents including an unsolicited kiss on the lips, frequent remarks by the governor about female colleagues and another aide telling her Cuomo had a crush on her. The post includes what she says are text messages and emails from the time.
The governor is currently in the midst of a scandal for allegedly under-reporting Covid nursing home deaths in the state.
“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,” read a communique from the governor’s press office.
The statement: “We were on each of these October flights and this conversation did not happen.”
Boylan had previously tweeted about her experience with the governor in December. In today’s Medium blog post titled “My Story Of Working With Governor Cuomo,” Boylan describes her distress when the governor allegedly asked her to play strip poker on the flight.
“I should have been shocked by the Governor’s crude comment, but I wasn’t. 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 says in the piece that she tried to play it off.
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” I responded sarcastically and awkwardly. I tried to play it cool. But in that moment, I realized just how acquiescent I had become,” she wrote.
Boylan, who is running for Manhattan Borough President, disclosed the alleged incidents in tweets in December but did not speak to the media then or comment further.
Deadline has not confirmed her allegations.
The governor — who has been a steady hand in the pandemic with frequent press briefings that won him a Special Emmy, and who was a gleeful critic of former President Trump — is currently in the midst of a scandal for allegedly under-reporting Covid nursing home deaths in the state. The issue wasn’t new but it blew up earlier this month when one of his closest aides appeared to tell state lawmakers that the administration “froze” in handing over nursing home data. The state was accused of reporting the passing of thousands of nursing home residents as hospital deaths if the patients ultimately passed away in a hospital.
As that story snowballed, State Assemblyman Ron Kim confirmed the aide’s comments then spoke out publicly about the subsequent intimidation he faced from the governor.
Mayor de Blasio even weighed in, remarking that “the bullying is nothing new.”
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