AOC, Chuck Schumer, and 11 other NY lawmakers call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignations amid ‘alarming’ sexual misconduct allegations

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and Chuck Schumer (right).

  • Thirteen prominent New York congressional Democrats called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down.
  • Progressives like AOC joined establishment figures like Chuck Schumer to demand Cuomo’s resignation.
  • The Democratic governor has been engulfed in a firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Thirteen powerful Democratic congressional representatives from New York released statements on Friday calling for the state’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, to resign amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations.

Here are the lawmakers who demanded Cuomo’s resignation on Friday:

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler
  • Rep. Hakeem Jeffries
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney
  • Rep. Sean Maloney
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones
  • Rep. Yvette Clarke
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez
  • Rep. Adriano Espaillat
  • Rep. Grace Meng

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice previously called for Cuomo’s resignation, saying in a March 1 tweet that “the time has come” for him to step down.

“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said in a joint statement Friday. “The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration’s staff. These allegations have all been consistent and highly-detailed and there are also credible media reports substantiating their accounts.”

“Unfortunately, the Governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault,” the statement continued. “There is also the extensive report from the Attorney General that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature.”

On Thursday, 59 New York state lawmakers released a joint letter demanding Cuomo’s resignation. The letter came on the heels of a sexual misconduct allegation from a sixth accuser, who reportedly told her supervisor that the governor “aggressively groped her in a sexually charged manner.” The accuser is currently a staffer in Cuomo’s office, according to the Albany Times Union, who first reported on her account.

The woman’s allegation was referred to the Albany police, which is now investigating the matter, The New York Times reported. A spokesman for the police told The Times that the incident may rise “to the level of a crime.”

Impeachment is emerging as a possibility for the governor, with New York’s process closely mirroring that of the US Congress. If half of the Assembly and two-thirds of the Senate vote against him, Cuomo would be removed from office.

However, one key difference between New York’s impeachment proceedings and Congress’s is that Cuomo would have to step aside during the trial as an acting governor takes his place. That would be Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would also become governor if Cuomo resigns.

Senate Democrats from Long Island came out with a statement on Friday asking Cuomo to allow Hochul to serve as acting governor until New York Attorney General Tish James’ investigation into the allegations is complete.

Cuomo has refused to resign, and insists he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”

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Female Cuomo staffers say they were pressured to wear makeup, heels, and dresses to please the governor and get ahead professionally

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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on July 23, 2020 in New York City

  • Female aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo say there was an informal dress code for women in his office.
  • A dozen young women told The New York Times they felt pressured to wear dresses, heels, and makeup around him.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A slew of female aides to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo say they were either explicitly told or felt pressured to wear makeup and dress up to please the governor and get ahead professionally.

Twelve women told The New York Times that there was a general understanding that they should wear heels, dresses, and makeup when in Cuomo’s presence. More than a dozen women who’ve worked for Cuomo told New York Magazine that the governor and his top female aides applied heavy pressure to dress well and in expensive clothing. Some said they were specifically directed to wear heels when in the governor’s presence. Several current and former aides in the governor’s office told The Times that women who are tall, thin, and blonde were favored in the hiring process.

Another former aide named Kaitlin, who asked that her last name not be used, told New York Magazine that the governor would criticize her physical appearance if she came to work with wet hair or otherwise didn’t meet his standards. She said he would tell her, “You decided not to get ready today?” or, “You didn’t put makeup on today?”

One former staffer, Ana Liss, said an executive assistant to the governor told her, “When the governor is here, you need to look really good.”

A current senior aide and two former staffers told The Times they believed they were passed over for certain professional opportunities because of how they dressed. Three former staffers said they had to dress the way Cuomo wanted if they desired special attention from the governor. Staffers who dressed according to Cuomo’s code would be seated at desks in view of his office in the Capitol building, The Times reported.

Cuomo’s office has denied claims about the informal dress code for women.

“Not now nor has there ever been an expectation to wear certain clothing or high heels,” Richard Azzopardi, a top adviser, told The Times.

These allegations come as the New York Attorney General’s office is overseeing an investigation into multiple claims of sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances made against Cuomo by eight women, including former aides. New York State lawmakers have initiated an impeachment inquiry and the majority of the state’s congressional Democrats are calling on the governor to resign.

On Friday, the governor again denied any wrongdoing and refused to resign.

Peter Yacobellis, who was Cuomo’s deputy director of administrative services from 2011 to 2014, told The Times there was “clearly a toxic environment for many women in the governor’s office” and no substantial sexual harassment training.

“If you are a woman who wants to focus on work, it is the worst place to be,” New York State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, who was an aide to Cuomo for seven months in 2017, told The Times. Biaggi is an outspoken critic of the governor, whom she’s called a “monster,” and is calling on him to resign.

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Cuomo reportedly tried to discredit a woman accusing him of sexual harassment by having his staff call her former coworkers

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NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.

  • Andrew Cuomo’s staff called former employees to dig up dirt on his first accuser, per the WSJ.
  • Staff worked the phones when the first former aide accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in December.
  • Among those contacted was Ana Liss, who later came forward with her own allegations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Back in December when former Andrew Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan came forward with allegations of sexual harassment by the governor, current staffers began working the phones to get dirt on Boylan and see if others may come forward, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

One of those reportedly called by Cuomo aides in the aftermath of the Boylan accusation was Ana Liss, who later came forward herself to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment.

The Journal reported that after Boylan first accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her and cultivating a toxic work environment in a December 2020 Twitter thread, Cuomo staffers working “at the behest” of top Cuomo advisor Melissa DeRosa called no fewer than six former aides asking if they had heard from Boylan or knew any damaging information about her.

Liss, who said she got a call probing whether she had been in contact with Boylan from senior Cuomo communications advisor Rich Azzopardi, told the Journal she felt “intimidated” and bewildered” by the outreach.

Azzopardi, for his part, denied that DeRosa coordinated an effort to reach out to former staffers, telling the Journal, “there was no directed effort-this outreach happened organically when everyone’s phone started to blow up.”

The report follows an documented pattern of bullying and intimidation as standard operating procedure in the Cuomo administration, with more lawmakers going on the record to detail accounts of their own menacing phone calls from the governor.

“You know, it’s no secret that this governor has a history of bullying members of the legislature,” New York Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Rotterdam Democrat, recently told Insider. “It’s well known in Albany … And I gotta tell you, it’s a scary thing to get a call like that. You don’t know what’s gonna happen.”

Cuomo’s penchant for intimidation common knowledge in Albany for years, but the floodgates of lawmakers going on the record to talk about it began to open in February, when Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens went on “The View” to call Cuomo an “abuser” in recounting a threatening phone call he received while trying to give his kids a bath.

As more legislators and other New York political figures have come forward to recount their stories of Cuomo bullying, the governor has found himself with fewer allies to defend him.

Earlier this week, Cuomo’s mother and sister came forward to defend him, but years of scare tactics and angering lawmakers have left him with no prominent Empire State Democrats to back him up.

A majority of lawmakers in the state legislature, including powerful state Senate President Andrea Stewart-Cousins, have now called for Cuomo to resign or step aside while an independent investigation overseen by the attorney general’s office plays out.

And on Friday morning 10 members of New York’s congressional delegation joined their colleague Rep. Kathleen Rice in calling for Cuomo to resign from office, bringing the total calling for his resignation to 14 out of New York’s 21-member Democratic congressional delegation.

The lawmakers calling for resignation included progressives like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, Reps. Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who formerly a steadfast Cuomo ally.

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AOC and 9 other NY lawmakers call for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down amid ‘alarming’ sexual misconduct allegations

AOC
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., on Monday, August 24, 2020.

  • Ten prominent New York congressional Democrats called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to step down.
  • Progressives like AOC and Rep. Jamaal Bowman joined longtime establishment Democrats to demand Cuomo’s resignation.
  • The Democratic governor has been engulfed in a firestorm of sexual misconduct allegations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ten Democratic congressional representatives from New York released statements on Friday morning calling for the state’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, to resign amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations.

Here are the lawmakers who demanded Cuomo’s resignation on Friday:

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
  • Rep. Jamaal Bowman
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler
  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney
  • Rep. Sean Maloney
  • Rep. Mondaire Jones
  • Rep. Yvette Clarke
  • Rep. Nydia Velazquez
  • Rep. Adriano Espaillat
  • Rep. Grace Meng

Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice previously called for Cuomo’s resignation, saying in a March 1 tweet that “the time has come” for him to step down.

“This week, the second sexual assault allegation and the sixth harassment allegation was leveled against Governor Cuomo,” Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman said in a joint statement Friday. “The fact that this latest report was so recent is alarming, and it raises concerns about the present safety and well-being of the administration’s staff. These allegations have all been consistent and highly-detailed and there are also credible media reports substantiating their accounts.”

“Unfortunately, the Governor is not only facing the accusation that he engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment and assault,” the statement continued. “There is also the extensive report from the Attorney General that found the Cuomo administration hid data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths from both the public and the state legislature.”

On Thursday, 59 New York state lawmakers released a joint letter demanding Cuomo’s resignation. The letter came on the heels of a sexual misconduct allegation from a sixth accuser, who reportedly told her supervisor that the governor “aggressively groped her in a sexually charged manner.” The accuser is currently a staffer in Cuomo’s office, according to the Albany Times Union, who first reported on her account.

The woman’s allegation was referred to the Albany police, which is now investigating the matter, The New York Times reported. A spokesman for the police told The Times that the incident may rise “to the level of a crime.”

Impeachment is emerging as a possibility for the governor, with New York’s process closely mirroring that of the US Congress. If half of the Assembly and two-thirds of the Senate vote against him, Cuomo would be removed from office.

However, one key difference between New York’s impeachment proceedings and Congress’s is that Cuomo would have to step aside during the trial as an acting governor takes his place. That would be Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who would also become governor if Cuomo resigns.

Senate Democrats from Long Island came out with a statement on Friday asking Cuomo to allow Hochul to serve as acting governor until New York Attorney General Tish James’ investigation into the allegations is complete.

Cuomo has refused to resign, and insists he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”

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New York Democrats are launching an impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo following allegations of sexual harassment

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MARCH 08: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a vaccination site at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on March 8, 2021 in New York City. Cuomo has been called to resign from his position after allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him.

  • New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has authorized an impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
  • “The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” Heastie said Thursday.
  • The news comes after multiple women accused Cuomo, a Democrat, of sexual harassment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie revealed Thursday that he authorized an impeachment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.

The New York Assembly Judiciary Committee, chaired by state Rep. Charles Lavine, will now examine the allegations, Heastie said in a statement.

“The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious,” he said.

Six women have now accused Gov. Cuomo of inappropriate touching and sexual comments in the workplace. The Albany Police Department said Thursday it was investigating one alleged incident, saying it may rise “to the level of a crime,” The New York Times reported.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James is also conducting an independent investigation. That, however, is expected to take months – amid calls for the governor to step down immediately.

Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. He denies the allegations.

It’s not the only scandal facing the governor, however. Cuomo has also been accused of undercounting nursing home deaths amid the COVID-19 pandemic — indeed, his aides were found to have altereed a report to lower the reported number.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio calls sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo ‘disgusting’ and says ‘he can no longer serve as governor’

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation on Thursday.
  • “It is disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor,” de Blasio said.
  • Cuomo and de Blasio have long feuded during their Empire State overlap.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday blasted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo over the string of sexual harassment allegations against him.

“It is disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor,” de Blasio said during a news conference. “It’s as simple as that.”

De Blasio’s comments come after a sixth woman has accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. The Albany Times Union reported on Wednesday that an unnamed female staffer said Cuomo “aggressively groped her in a sexually charged manner” last year after she had been called to the Executive Mansion, his residence, to solve a technology issue. Once there, the governor allegedly closed the door, reached under her shirt and began to fondle her, a source with direct knowledge of the unnamed aide’s claims told the The Albany Times Union.

“It’s deeply troubling,” de Blasio said. “The specific allegation that the governor called an employee of his – someone who he had power over – called them to a private place and then sexually assaulted her is absolutely unacceptable.”

The women who have come forward in the past month have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, inappropriate workplace behavior, and non-consensual advances while he has been governor and during his tenure as US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under the Clinton administration.

Lawmakers across New York state have urged Cuomo to resign in light of the allegations, but the governor has said he will not step down. Fifty-nine New York Democrats released a joint letter on Thursday calling for his resignation.

In recent weeks Cuomo has also come under attack over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes and safety issues on a billion-dollar bridge the governor named after his father.

Cuomo and de Blasio overlapped during their time at HUD in the Clinton years, but their relationship became publicly toxic over the course of the mayor’s first term.

The Cuomo-de Blasio feud spilled over to New York’s coronavirus response, with the governor often contradicting the mayor hours or even minutes after de Blasio would hold a press briefing.

The mayor also dug into Cuomo in mid-February as the governor’s management style was coming under scrutiny, saying “bullying is nothing new” for Cuomo and that he had received threatening phone calls from him in the past.

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New details emerge from Cuomo’s 6th accuser, claiming he “aggressively groped her in a sexually charged manner”

andrew cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on September 08, 2020 in New York City.

  • New details emerged from the sixth woman to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment.
  • The unnamed female staffer alleged the governor fondled her in his private residence last year.
  • Cuomo denied the new allegations in a statement to Insider Wednesday night.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The sixth woman to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment – who is currently a staffer – said he groped her in the executive mansion last year, according to the Albany Times Union.

The newspaper published new details about the alleged incident Wednesday, describing the most serious allegation against the third-term Democrat yet.

The unnamed woman alleged Cuomo “aggressively groped her in a sexually charged manner” after she had been summoned to the governor’s private residence under the pretext of helping him solve a technology issue, a person with direct knowledge of the woman’s claims told the Times Union.

Once alone, the source said Cuomo closed the door, then reached under the unnamed aide’s shirt and allegedly began to fondle her. She reportedly told him to stop.

The source, who told the newspaper they were not authorized to comment on the matter publicly, also said the unnamed staffer alleged that the governor was frequently flirtatious and said the mansion incident was not the only time he touched her.

Cuomo issued a statement to Insider Wednesday night denying the new allegations.

“As I said yesterday, I have never done anything like this. The details of this report are gut-wrenching. I am not going to speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given the ongoing review, but I am confident in the result of the attorney general’s report,” he said.

The woman reportedly revealed her story in the governor’s Executive Chamber on March 3, as she and fellow staff members watched Cuomo give his first news conference since the flood of allegations had begun.

Insider reported that the woman disclosed the incident in an internal complaint to her supervisors, and that complaint had been referred to the New York Attorney General Tish Jame’s office, where an investigation into Cuomo’s conduct is underway.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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All the major scandals Andrew Cuomo is facing in his fight for political survival

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing scandals on multiple fronts.
  • Sexual harassment allegations have led to calls for his resignation.
  • Other scandals involve COVID-19 nursing home deaths and a $3.9 billion bridge.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

First came the nursing home scandal, then the sexual harassment allegations, then the bridge safety issues, and then more sexual harassment allegations.

As New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approaches the one-year anniversary of his star turn propelled by his internationally acclaimed COVID-19 daily briefings, the third-term Democrat is under siege.

Three main scandals have engulfed the Cuomo administration at one of the most consequential junctures in his governorship.

Cuomo is set to run for a fourth term in 2022, with the mounting crises potentially imperiling his prospects of surpassing his father’s three terms in Albany’s corner office.

A looming state budget deadline on April 1 also makes things complicated. Cuomo finds himself in a weakened position amid negotiations for the most consequential spending package in recent New York history, particularly with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic in New York City, where subway fares and other sources of tax revenue plummeted.

Here’s a breakdown of the scandals currently engulfing Cuomo, as well as what a potential resignation or impeachment trial would entail.

Cuomo faces sexual harassment allegations from six women

In the past month, six women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, inappropriate workplace behavior, and touching them without their consent both while he was governor and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

The first accuser, a former deputy secretary for economic development and special advisor Lindsey Boylan, first raised her allegations of harassment in a December 2020 Twitter thread.

“Yes, [Cuomo] sexually harassed me for years,” she wrote. “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.”

Boylan expanded on her experiences in a February Medium post, writing that after years of the governor making romantic advances in the workplace and inappropriate comments, she finally resigned in late 2018 after Cuomo kissed her on the lips without consent. (At the time, the Cuomo administration denied Boylan’s claims to Insider).

Shortly after, two other former aides who recently worked in the Cuomo administration, Charlotte Bennett and Ana Liss, came forward with similar claims of workplace harassment.

GettyImages NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 17: Lindsey Boylan attends The 9th Annual Elly Awards Hosted By The Women's Forum Of New York on June 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York)
Lindsey Boylan attends The 9th Annual Elly Awards Hosted By The Women’s Forum Of New York on June 17, 2019 in New York City.

Bennett, 25, told The New York Times that Cuomo quizzed her on her sex and dating life, including asking if she had dated older men before, while Liss told the Wall Street Journal that Cuomo similarly inquired into her dating life, called her “sweetheart,” and kissed her hand at one point.

Karen Hinton, a former HUD staffer, told the Washington Post that, while on a work trip to California in 2000, Cuomo invited her to his hotel room and held her into a too-long “intimate embrace” when she was leaving. In response to her claim, a Cuomo spokesman called Hinton a “known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago.”

And on March 9, the Albany Times Union reported that another unnamed female staffer in the executive chamber of the governor’s office had filed an internal complaint against Cuomo over an incident that occurred at the governor’s mansion, saying that Cuomo touched her inappropriately. The complaint has been referred to the attorney general’s office, with Cuomo telling reporters on Monday that he had not heard of it.

In addition to the five current and former Cuomo staffers, a woman named Anna Ruch told The New York Times that Cuomo touched her lower back and face and asked to kiss her at a September 2019 wedding, an encounter that a fellow wedding guest captured on camera.

Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but apologized for any comments that made women feel uncomfortable in the workplace in a February 28 statement and in a subsequent news conference. He has formally directed the attorney general’s office to oversee an official investigation into the claims.

“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable, and I truly and deeply apologize for it,” Cuomo said in a March 3 press conference. “And frankly, I am embarrassed by it. And that’s not easy to say, but that’s the truth.”

The governor also said kissing people was his “customary way of greeting” and one that he extended to both men and women.

Attorney General Letitia James has selected two powerhouse attorneys, former federal prosecutor Joon Kim and civil rights lawyer Anne Clark, who specializes in employment discrimination, to conduct a fully independent investigation of the sexual harassment allegations with subpoena power.

The Cuomo administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes led to the first calls for his resignation

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A billboard urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign is seen near downtown on March 2, 2021 in Albany, New York.

While reporters in Albany’s Legislative Correspondents Association tried to get answers from Cuomo on a peculiar executive order on COVID-positive nursing home patients for months, the floodgates on this scandal did not open until early 2021.

The March 25, 2020 executive order – which the Cuomo administration has long insisted was simply the result of them following federal guidance – mandated that nursing home patients who were hospitalized with the coronavirus should be discharged back to nursing homes, as long as the providers could take adequate care of them.

Hospital capacity was a primary concern at the time, but the order left nursing home staff in a bind, particularly with the potential for the recently hospitalized residents to spread the virus if they were still within the window of contagiousness.

In late January, James accused the Cuomo administration of undercounting nursing home deaths by omitting those who died in a hospital, leaving the overall death total unchanged but undercounting nursing home-related ones by thousands.

Then came leaked comments from Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, who told lawmakers that the administration was sitting on the more accurate tally to avoid political issues with the Trump administration.

melissa derosa briefing
Melissa DeRosa, secretary to the governor.

Several Republican lawmakers called for Cuomo’s resignation, citing a lack of transparency.

Cuomo has dismissed lawmakers’ criticism on his handling of the situation, accusing Donald Trump, Fox News, and the New York Post of conspiring against him.

Democrats began to join in calls for resignation when Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Queens Democrat who had been critical of Cuomo on the nursing homes front, when he went on ABC’s “The View” to talk about a threatening phone call he says he received from Cuomo while trying to give his child a bath.

And The New York Times reported on March 4 that top Cuomo aides altered a report on nursing home deaths to provide lower numbers.

In that first week of March, at least eight Cuomo aides announced their plans to leave the administration or take jobs elsewhere in the executive branch.

‘Structural safety’ issues on a bridge named after Cuomo’s father added to his 2021 woes

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The Mario Cuomo Bridge

The Mario Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the rickety and heavily-trafficked Tappan Zee Bridge in 2017, has “structural safety” issues that could lead to its collapse, according to an Albany Times Union investigation published March 9.

Cuomo named the bridge after his father, who served as New York’s governor from 1983 to 1994.

Snapping bolts that are supposed to pin down the bridge’s suspension cables were the primary issue, the Times Union reported.

The eight-month investigation also found that Tappan Zee Constructors, the private corporation building the bridge for the state authority, may have committed fraud by concealing the fact that large numbers of bolts had been breaking due to either improper installation techniques, manufacturing defects, or both.”

Cuomo touted the project as “four years ahead of schedule and on budget,” but the bolt issues raised alarm bells among the crew assembling the bridge at a port just south of Albany along the Hudson River.

Investigations into the issue wound up downplaying the severity of the issues, according to the Times Union, though the New York State Thruway Authority and the project’s director disputed that reporting.

When asked if the Thruway Authority would be in favor of unsealing court documents pertaining to the structural issues, a spokesman said, “As much as we would like to share more information, we are unable to discuss it further at this time.”

What happens now?

Cuomo now faces three paths: stay in office and run again in 2022, resign from office, or be impeached by the state legislature. Democrats now hold supermajorities in both legislative chambers.

The governor has so far remained defiant and shown no sign of resigning despite calls from dozens of legislators to do so. He told reporters recently: “I’m not going to resign because of allegations. The premise of resigning because of allegations is actually anti-democratic.”

Cuomo is known for the hard-charging and confrontational approach to politics that powered his rise to power, but it’s left him with few allies in Albany when he needs them most.

In a significant development on Sunday, New York’s state Senate President Andrea Stewart-Cousins called on Cuomo to resign from office, saying, “we need to govern without daily distraction.”

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie followed up with a statement that stopped short of saying that Cuomo should resign but called the allegations of the harassment “deeply disturbing” and said that Cuomo should “seriously consider whether he can effectively meet the needs of the people of New York.”

If he doesn’t resign and more comes to light, Cuomo could face impeachment.

The impeachment process in New York is similar to how the impeachment of federal officials works in Congress.

A simple majority in the state Assembly is required to impeach a governor. If the governor is impeached, a special impeachment court consisting of the members of the state Senate and the associate justices of the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, would hold a trial. A two-thirds majority of the impeachment court is needed to convict and remove the governor.

A New York governor was last impeached over a century ago in 1913, when the legislature impeached and removed former Gov. William Sulzer after he got into a nasty political battle with the Tammany Hall machine.

If Cuomo either resigned or was removed through impeachment, the state’s Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul would take office and serve out the rest of Cuomo’s term until 2023. If either occurred, Hochul would be New York’s first female governor.

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Current staffer reportedly files complaint about Gov. Andrew Cuomo inappropriately touching her

cuomo impeachment lawmaker comments
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under increasing pressure from fellow Democrats.

  • Another accuser has emerged in the ongoing sexual harassment scandal that Gov. Cuomo is facing.
  • The woman is a current staffer in the Executive Chamber, according to the Albany Times Union.
  • Staff reported the incident, which the governor’s office referred to NY’s Attorney General.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

An unnamed staffer is the sixth woman to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, the Albany Times Union first reported on Tuesday.

The Times Union did not name the accuser because she could not be reached for comment, but they confirmed she is an employee of the Executive Chamber, which is sometimes referred to as the governor’s office but can also incorporate high-level staff at state agencies who report to Cuomo.

Other staffers reported the incident, which reportedly occurred in the governor’s mansion.

The incident allegedly took place late last year, and the woman recently told her supervisor that the governor “inappropriately touched her” in an internal complaint, according to the Times Union.

That complaint was then referred to the New York Attorney General Tish James’s office, where an investigation into Cuomo’s conduct is under way.

Cuomo’s office became aware of the allegation on Monday, according to an anonymous aide who spoke with the Times Union.

The governor’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

“All allegations that we learn of directly or indirectly are going promptly to the investigators appointed by the attorney general,” Beth Garvey, who was recently promoted to acting counsel for the governor, told the Times Union.

Cuomo, a third term Democrat, has previously apologized for acting “in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” but he has also insisted that he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”

The governor has also refused to resign, calling it “anti-democratic” as members of his own party in the state legislature have called for him to step down.

Pressure on Cuomo to resign has continued to grow as more allegations emerge.

Of the five other accusers, three are former staffers.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Andrew Cuomo has a new scandal, and it’s the ‘structural safety’ of a bridge named after his father

mario cuomo bridge scandal
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the Mario Cuomo bridge as an example of effective leadership on infrastructure.

  • The bridge named after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s father has newly disclosed safety issues.
  • A report from the Albany Times Union found “structural issues” were known for years.
  • Opened in 2017 at a cost of $3.9 billion, experts say the bridge could collapse.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Amid sexual harassment allegations from five women, calls for resignation, possible impeachment, major staff departures, and a federal investigation into his administration’s undercounting of COVID-19 deaths tied to nursing homes, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing a new scandal.

The Mario Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the rickety and heavily trafficked Tappan Zee Bridge in 2017, has “structural safety” issues that could lead to its collapse, an Albany Times Union investigation found. Cuomo named the bridge after his father, who was New York’s governor from 1983 to 1994.

Snapping bolts that are supposed to pin down the bridge’s suspension cables were the primary issue, according to the Times Union.

The eight month investigation also found that “Tappan Zee Constructors, the private corporation building the bridge for the state authority, may have committed fraud by concealing the fact that large numbers of bolts had been breaking due to either improper installation techniques, manufacturing defects, or both.”

In January 2016, an ironworker got hit in the face with part of a bolt that snapped when he was trying to use a torque wrench to tighten it, with the piece of metal ricocheting off of an overhang and splitting his lip open when he looked up.

“When you look at them, bro, the heads of them were like hollow, bad spot, sometimes the shank-lead to the thread has got a hollow spot,” one of the iron workers reportedly told James McNall, the project’s safety director at the Port of Coeymans.

McNall, who was fired later in 2016 after problems with the bolts kept happening, secretly recorded conversations with engineers and iron workers handling the bridge assembly at the port. He played them for a quality assurance inspector at Alta Vista, a private firm hired by the New York State Thruway Authority.

During a meeting at a restaurant in the Albany suburb of Colonie, McNall told the inspector that Tappan Zee Constructors may have committed fraud.

A whistleblower later came forward to report the issue, and experts began to worry that the bolt snapping could lead to a collapse of the bridge that has not even been moored in the Hudson River for a full decade yet.

The Times Union obtained records stemming from a False Claims Act case filed by McNall in the State Supreme Court, but the case has remained under seal since 2017.

State Sen. Joseph Griffo, a Rome Republican, sent a letter to the senate’s Government Operations Committee calling the structural flaws a “clear and present danger,” and demanded an investigation.

The New York Inspector General and the Attorney General’s office both launched investigations into the matter, according to the Times Union. The AG investigation “devolved from seeking an incisive probe of the bolt failures to pursuing an effort to arguably downplay the severity of the allegations, including any potential structural threat to the bridge,” Times Union reporter Brendan Lyons wrote.

A confidential report from the Thruway Authority put the likelihood of bolts failing at 1%, but also listed a snapping rate as high as 50% as a “worst-case scenario,” according to the Times Union.

Since December 2018, the Inspector General and Attorney General’s office have not spoken publicly about the bridge investigations.

“In 2016, independent experts began testing and later concluded that both the bolts and the bridge were safe long before either span of the bridge opened to traffic,” a spokeswoman for the Thruway Authority told the Times Union. “Public safety is our highest priority and the bridge is completely safe for the traveling public.”

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