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Cuomo’s former aide says governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her without permission

Andrew Cuomo‘s former aide has said the New York governor asked her to play strip poker on a flight in 2017 and a year later kissed her without permission. 

In a lengthy Medium post Lindsey Boylan said of the alleged plane incident: ‘I should have been shocked by the Governor’s crude comment, but I wasn’t.’ 

Boylan had already alleged in December last year that Cuomo ‘abused his power’ and sexually harassed her for years.    

On Wednesday Boylan said: ‘I tried to excuse his behavior. I told myself ‘it’s only words.’ But that changed after a one-on-one briefing with the Governor to update him on economic and infrastructure projects. 

‘We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.

‘I had complained to friends that the Governor would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs.’ 

Boylan also alleges his top female staffers ‘normalized’ his behavior and that governor regularly sought her out. She said she was warned by others to ‘be careful around the Governor’ who she alleges called her ‘Lisa’, a reference to his rumored girlfriend at the time Lisa Shields

DailyMail.com has contacted Cuomo’s office for comment. 

Cuomo is under increasing pressure over his handling of COVID-19 deaths in the state’s nursing homes. He signed a March order that allowed nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients back to their facilities. 

The governor and his office have been accused of intentionally misreporting the number of COVID-19 deaths linked to nursing homes by not listing patients who were transferred to hospital and died there.

At least 15,000 people living in long-term care facilities have died of COVID-19, nearly double the number Cuomo had initially disclosed. Cuomo says his office was always honest about the figures but that it came down to differences in categorization. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Lindsey Boylan (left), a former aide of Andrew Cuomo (right), has said the New York governor asked her to play strip poker and kissed her without permission

Boylan was employed at Empire State Development, New York’s economic development public-benefit corporation from 2015. 

She was promoted and then served as deputy secretary for economic development and special adviser to Cuomo until March 2018.

Boylan said Wednesday: ‘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 also referenced the ongoing nursing homes scandal after New York assemblyman Rom Kim accused Cuomo of berating him during a phone call on the matter.  

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference before the opening of a mass Covid-19 vaccination site in the Queens borough of New York, on February 24

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference before the opening of a mass Covid-19 vaccination site in the Queens borough of New York, on February 24

She said: ‘Last week, Assemblymember Ron Kim spoke out publicly about the intimidation and abuse he has faced from Governor Cuomo and his aides. 

‘As Mayor de Blasio remarked, “the bullying is nothing new.” There are many more of us, but most are too afraid to speak up.

‘I expect the Governor and his top aides will attempt to further disparage me, just as they’ve done with Assemblymember Kim. They’d lose their jobs if they didn’t protect him. That’s how his administration works. I know because I was a part of it.’ 

Earlier this month, Melissa DeRosa, Cuomo’s top aide, unleashed a political firestorm when she admitted to state Democrats that the administration had deliberately hid data on the number of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. 

Boylan said of his behavior: ‘It was all so normalized — particularly by Melissa DeRosa and other top women around him — that only now do I realize how insidious his abuse was.’ 

She said Cuomo’s behavior ‘made her nervous’ but that she ‘didn’t truly fear him until December 2016’ when he asked to see her at the Capitol. 

‘I worried that I would be left alone with the Governor. I didn’t know why I was there. Or how it would end,’ Boylan said, ‘The Governor must have sensed my fear because he finally let me out of the office. I tried to rationalize this incident in my head. At least he didn’t touch me. That made me feel safer.’ 

Boylan warned in her Twitter thread last year that she knows she is not the only woman who Cuomo has treated this way. 

She wrote then: ‘Yes, @NYGovCuomo sexually harassed me for years. Many saw it, and watched.

‘I could never anticipate what to expect: would I be grilled on my work (which was very good) or harassed about my looks. Or would it be both in the same conversation? This was the way for years.’ 

‘Not knowing what to expect what’s the most upsetting part aside from knowing that no one would do a damn thing even when they saw it. No one,’ she continued in the six-part tweet. ‘And I *know* I am not the only woman.’

‘I’m angry to be put in this situation at all,’ Boylan, who worked for Cuomo’s administration from 2015-2018, wrote. ‘That because I am a woman, I can work hard my whole life to better myself and help others and yet still fall victim as countless women over generations have. Mostly silently.’

She concluded: ‘I hate that some men, like @NYGovCuomo abuse their power.’  

Boylan  has also called Cuomo’s office the ‘most toxic team environment’ she had ever worked in. She said there’s a ‘whole book of people who have been harmed’ by the Democratic governor.

‘Most toxic team environment? Working for @NYGovCuomo,’ Boylan wrote last week.

‘I’ve had many jobs,’ she described in the thread. ‘Waitressing at @Friendlys as a teenager was an infinitely more respectful environment. Even when I had bad customers who tipped poorly. If people weren’t deathly afraid of him, they’d be saying the same thing and you’d already know the stories.’

Boylan is a Democratic candidate for 2021 Manhattan Borough President. 

She said she feels emboldened to come forward about the sexual harassment after ‘promising myself I would never let those kind of guys win.’ 

Boylan warned in her Twitter thread that she knows she is not the only woman who Cuomo has treated this way.

Boylan and Kamala Harris

Boylan (shown above, and right with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris) warned in her Twitter thread that she knows she is not the only woman who Cuomo has treated this way

‘My first experience of workplace sexual harassment was when my mom got her first real office job after graduating from college when I was in high school. She was so excited to be taken ‘seriously.’ Her bossed isolated her and kissed her. She never had that type of job again,’ she wrote in her Sunday morning Twitter thread.

‘It was then how I learned how hard it is for women,’ she continued. ‘How hard this world can be for us when we are trying to be taken seriously and help our community. How easily jerks can destroy the lives of women.’

‘And I promised myself I would never let those kind of guys win. I would work hard my whole life to put myself in positions of power to change things. To end the violence & corruption. Give voice to the voiceless,’ Boylan tweeted.

‘I am not stopping. I refuse. I will never give up. 

‘Seriously, the messages and texts I receive when I speak the truth about this…it’s a whole book of people who have been harmed,’ Boylan continued. 

Boylan then described Cuomo having a tight-knit group of confidants, and those who weren’t a part of it faced a ‘dispiriting’ work environment.

Boylan previously worked for Cuomo's administration from 2015 to 2018, according to her LinkedIn

Boylan previously worked for Cuomo’s administration from 2015 to 2018, according to her LinkedIn

Earlier this month, Boylan said her former waitressing job at Friendlys was an 'infinitely more respectful environment' than Cuomo's office

Earlier this month, Boylan said her former waitressing job at Friendlys was an ‘infinitely more respectful environment’ than Cuomo’s office

Boylan: 'If people weren’t deathly afraid of him, they’d be saying the same thing and you’d already know the stories'

Boylan: ‘If people weren’t deathly afraid of him, they’d be saying the same thing and you’d already know the stories’

‘Don’t be surprised that it’s the same small group of white people sitting alongside him at every presser,’ she wrote.

‘The same group that he has had by him the whole time, doing his dirty work. If you’re not one of those handful, your life working for him is endlessly dispiriting.’

Boylan said that she tried to quit her job three times before leaving, calling Cuomo’s office ‘beyond toxic.’

‘I’ve worked hard my whole life. Hustled – fake it till you make it style. That environment is beyond toxic. I’m still unwrapping it years later in therapy! 

‘And I’m a privileged person. I could opt out and eventually did. I shudder to think what happens to others. It pisses me off so much.’ 

Boylan said she feels emboldened to come forward about the sexual harassment after 'promising myself I would never let those kind of guys win'

Boylan said she feels emboldened to come forward about the sexual harassment after ‘promising myself I would never let those kind of guys win’

Earlier this year, Boylan ran against Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler in the state's 10th Congressional District but was defeated.

Earlier this year, Boylan ran against Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler in the state’s 10th Congressional District but was defeated.

Boylan: 'The same group that he has had by him the whole time, doing his dirty work. If you’re not one of those handful, your life working for him is endlessly dispiriting'

Boylan: ‘The same group that he has had by him the whole time, doing his dirty work. If you’re not one of those handful, your life working for him is endlessly dispiriting’

Boylan said she tried to quit her position at Cuomo's office three times before eventually exiting

Boylan said she tried to quit her position at Cuomo’s office three times before eventually exiting 

Boylan was the second former aide of Cuomo who spoke out against the governor in less than two weeks

Boylan was the second former aide of Cuomo who spoke out against the governor in less than two weeks 

Alexis Grenell used to work as Cuomo's deputy director of intergovernmental affairs when he was New York's Attorney General

Alexis Grenell used to work as Cuomo’s deputy director of intergovernmental affairs when he was New York’s Attorney General

Earlier this year, Boylan ran against Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler in the state’s 10th Congressional District but was defeated.   

Alexis Grenell used to work as Cuomo’s deputy director of intergovernmental affairs when he was New York’s Attorney General.

In an article published by The Nation last year, she said that while he’d ‘undeniably’ shown good leadership at the start of the year, he has since descended into being snarky and argumentative.

She used his recent outburst at journalists who had asked him if schools would be open the next day as an example, calling it the kind of ‘tantrum’ he was known for throwing before the pandemic turned him into a hero.

‘It all boils down to this: Any dissent is a partisan attack on our very lives, and Andrew Cuomo is our only hope. To solidify the narrative, he’s even written a self-congratulatory book at what he calls ‘half-time’ in the crisis.

‘Kind of like how every coach puts out a press release mid-game and Winston Churchill wrote the history of World War II in 1943. Oh, wait…’

‘Indeed, St. Andrew, our savior of the spring, is now milking his 15 minutes of fame for an extra 30.’  


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