The investigators looking into sexual harassment claims against Gov. Cuomo have wide, sweeping powers and are paid as much as $750 per hour

cuomo scandals
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • The investigators reviewing sexual harassment claims against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are being paid as much as $750 per hour.
  • Attorney General Letitia James hired the independent investigators after several women came forward with allegations Cuomo.
  • The Daily News reported that the investigators have wide, sweeping power to conduct the probe freely.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The investigators leading the probe into the numerous sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are being paid as much as $750 an hour.

According to the New York Daily News, which obtained internal documents through FOIA requests, the investigators have wide, sweeping powers to conduct the investigation.

Attorney General Letitia James hired out the independent investigators after several women came forward with allegations that the governor made inappropriate and sexually harassing remarks or advances toward them.

Former Acting US Attorney for New York’s Southern District Joon Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne Clark are in charge of spearheading the probe.

Their offices are “authorized to utilize any of its resources as it deems appropriate to carry out” the investigation, the documents say, according to the Daily News.

Both firms have been retained for a period of at least six months, the Daily News reported. But James is able to extend the contracts as she deems necessary.

Their work comes at a hefty cost, documents obtained by the Daily News reveal. Top-level partners working on the investigation receive as much as $750 per hour. Even mid- and lower-level partners are raking in large sums of money to carry out the probe. Mid-level partners, for example, get $575 per hour, and junior-level partners $500. Senior associates will receive $450 per hour and junior associates $325, the Daily News reported.

The investigators will prepare and deliver weekly progress reports to First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy. At the end of their investigation, they will produce a written report with all their findings and conclusions, the Daily News reported.

The investigation was prompted in part by state and federal lawmakers coming out in support of one.

Since December, Cuomo has faced several sexual harassment accusations. The first one was from a former aide who in December said she had been sexually harassed by the governor “for years.” At the time, Lindsey Boylan, who worked for the governor between 2015 and 2018, did not divulge specific information about the circumstances and declined to speak to journalists.

But in February, Boylan broke her silence in a Medium post, said Cuomo had touched her inappropriately and kissed her without her consent.

Cuomo’s office has repeatedly denied her claims. “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” press secretary Caitlin Girouard said in a statement.

Since Boylan’s accusations surfaced, at least 10 other women have come forward with similar allegations of their own against the governor.

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A former Google engineer said she endured a year of harassment. She’s now vowing to ‘never love a job again.’

Google logo office Mountain View
Google’s logo seen at its Mountain View campus.

  • Ex-Google engineer Emi Nietfeld said she endured harassment and retaliation while working there.
  • In an op-ed for The New York Times, she said Google’s response led her to vow to “never love a job again.”
  • Multiple current and former Googlers have accused the company of discrimination.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Workers have long coveted jobs in the tech industry because companies promise things like good pay, prestige, luxurious perks, and innovative cultures.

But Emi Nietfeld, a Google engineer from 2015 to 2019, wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times on Wednesday that she left her tech job because Google’s supposed reputation as a great place to work masked the reality that – just like other companies – it ultimately looks out for itself.

Nietfeld said in the op-ed that one her male managers sexually harassed for more than a year, calling her “beautiful,” “gorgeous,” and “my queen” – and that Google’s reputation made it that much harder to speak up.

“Saying anything about his behavior meant challenging the story we told ourselves about Google being so special,” Nietfeld wrote, adding: “Google was the Garden of Eden; I lived in fear of being cast out.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

When she eventually filed a formal HR complaint, Nietfeld wrote: “Google went from being a great workplace to being any other company.”

Google ignored Nietfeld’s concerns about having to sit next to her harasser during and after its three-month-long investigation, even after concluding that he violated the company’s harassment policy, she said, while suggesting that Nietfeld seek counseling, work remotely, or take a leave of absence.

It’s not the first time Google has come under fire over similar cultural and equity issues.

Multiple former Google employees said that the company told them to take mental health leave when they experienced sexism and racism. Oher employees and shareholders have filed lawsuits accusing Google of gender pay bias, retaliation against whistleblowers, and mishandling major sexual harassment incidents involving top executives.

Nietfeld said Google didn’t appear to do much in the way of reprimanding her harasser, and after suffering through weeks of bad sleep and emotional distress at work, she took three months of paid leave. But Nietfeld said she returned only to face retaliation from another manager, get passed over for promotion, have her pay cut, and have Google make a “meager counteroffer” when two competing job offers came up.

“After I quit, I promised myself to never love a job again. Not in the way I loved Google. Not with the devotion businesses wish to inspire when they provide for employees’ most basic needs like food and health care and belonging. No publicly traded company is a family. I fell for the fantasy that it could be,” Nietfeld wrote.

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Why Andrew Cuomo probably isn’t leaving anytime soon

andrew cuomo mask car
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo leaves Mount Neboh Baptist Church in Harlem after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine there.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is trying to wait out the multiple scandals facing him.
  • He won’t rule out seeking a fourth term, which eluded his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
  • The governor is relying on strong support among Black voters and a $16.8 million campaign war chest.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has found a way to stick around – at least for now – by buying himself time and sitting on a more than $16 million campaign war chest.

On March 17, the 13th anniversary of former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation, Cuomo was staring down the barrel of three simultaneous scandals, calls to resign from the Empire State’s two senators and most of its congressional delegation, an ongoing federal investigation into his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, and the beginning of an all encompassing impeachment investigation.

Even as new allegations and more detailed accounts kept emerging, Cuomo refused to resign by blaming “cancel culture.”

Buying time

Unlike Spitzer, Cuomo let the negative press coverage and calls to step down drag out, maintaining a low profile by largely avoiding the press and on-camera appearances.

Yet five days later on Thursday, Cuomo was back on camera and laughing it up, flanked by a pair of former Mets and Yankees pitchers along with his daughter, Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo, at a closed press COVID-19 briefing.

The governor’s office did not open a conference call for reporters to dial in and ask questions, and while Cuomo has avoided in-person press events for weeks – citing “COVID-19 protocols” – several of his recent events have been crowded with masked attendees.

All of these decisions at Cuomo’s discretion have bought him time, with his official position remaining that New York Attorney General Tish James’s investigation should proceed and that lawmakers calling for his ouster “who don’t know a single fact but yet form a conclusion and an opinion are, in my opinion, reckless and dangerous.”

Impeachment remains a real possibility for Cuomo, with New York’s process closely resembling that of the US Congress.

However, a critical move by New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie this week bought Cuomo even more time.

Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, announced Wednesday that the white shoe law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell will handle the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation. Critics quickly raised concerns over connections between the firm and Cuomo’s orbit, with its head of litigation married to the chief judge Cuomo appointed to the New York Court of Appeals.

Cuomo accuser and former staffer Lindsey Boylan called the Assembly investigation a “sham,” while the lawyer for Cuomo’s second accuser, former staffer Charlotte Bennett, described it as an “unacceptable conflict of interest.”

By delaying any articles of impeachment being drawn up and given the looming budget deadline of April 1, Heastie gave Cuomo time to regroup and test the legislature’s willingness to impeach him weeks or months down the line.

16.8 million reasons why Cuomo isn’t ruling out running for a 4th term

cuomo vaccine
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo receives a Covid-19 vaccine, at a church in the Harlem section of New York, on March 17, 2021.

Although Cuomo could have taken a lot of the heat off of him by promising not to run for reelection, he’s also refused to do that.

“Today is not a day for politics. I’m focused on my job,” Cuomo said on a recent conference call with reporters when asked if he would not run for a fourth term.

Crucially, Cuomo’s late father, Mario, was unable to secure a fourth term when he lost to George Pataki, a Republican who managed to win all but one county outside of New York City’s five boroughs.

During the height of his global popularity in the early stages of the pandemic, Cuomo got a fundraising boost and brought his cash on hand for 2022 up to $16.8 million.

Recent polling also bodes in Cuomo’s favor, with a majority of New Yorkers saying he should not step down and his approval remaining above 60% among Black voters, a crucial voting block for both the general election and any Democratic primary.

At the few televised events Cuomo has done over the past two weeks, he has been flanked by prominent members of the Black community in New York City and Long Island, from clergy leaders at the Javits Center’s mass vaccination site to former Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia in the governor’s Midtown Manhattan office on Thursday.

With strong support among the most consequential voting block in his party and a huge cash advantage over any potential challengers, Cuomo is calling the legislature’s bluff on impeachment and holding out for a slug fest of a reelection campaign.

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At least two women who accused Cuomo of misbehavior said he summoned them to help navigate his iPhone

cuomo iphone notes
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • Andrew Cuomo would invite younger women on his staff to help with tech snafus, a new report says.
  • Two accusers were summoned over his iPhone’s Notes app, according to the Albany Times Union.
  • People who have worked with Cuomo told the outlet that younger women were also asked to perform “minimal clerical duties” like dictation.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo exhibited a pattern of asking younger women on his staff to assist him with minor tech issues, according to a new report from the Albany Times Union published Monday.

Jessica Westerman, the attorney for former Cuomo staffer Charlotte Bennett, told the Times Union that the governor called the 25-year-old into his office to help him navigate between his iPhone’s settings and Notes apps, which are normally clearly displayed on the device’s home screen.

This came a day after Cuomo reportedly quizzed Bennett on her sex life, including whether she would be open to sleeping with an older man.

Cuomo’s sixth accuser, a current staffer who is so far unnamed, was summoned to Cuomo’s private residence for a similar issue with his Notes app, according to a person briefed on her complaint who spoke with the Times Union on the condition of anonymity.

Senior Cuomo aides, however, told the Times Union that the governor is “notorious for his lack of technical proficiency – and that for years he has sought help from subordinates with his smartphones, computers and software.”

The governor had a penchant for hiring “attractive young women” who mostly performed “minimal clerical duties,” including dictation, and were “often given assignments that require one-on-one encounters with him,” according to several people who have worked with Cuomo and were interviewed for the Times Union story.

Accounts of Cuomo’s toxic workplace culture have grown as multiple scandals subsume his administration.

Women who worked for the governor have described feeling pressure to be well dressed whenever he was around, particularly by wearing high heels and makeup.

Cuomo continues to refuse to resign, despite most of New York’s congressional delegation, including its two senators, calling for him to step down.

A new poll released by Siena College on Monday showed Cuomo holding on to his base of support, with 61% approval among Black voters and half of those polled saying he should remain at his post. Just 35% of New Yorkers said he should resign.

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Pelosi stops short of urging Cuomo to resign, says he should ‘look inside his heart’ ‘to see if he can govern effectively’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is meeting with White House officials to hash out a deal on another coronavirus rescue package.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday did not join her Democratic colleagues in calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.
  • In recent weeks, women came forward with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed them.
  • High-profile Democrats like Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on him to resign.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped short on Sunday of calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation.

Meanwhile, her Democratic colleagues in both the House and the Senate have urged the governor to resign after multiple allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

After former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan came forward in December with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed her for years, other women began to speak up as well.

Several said Cuomo sexually assaulted or behaved inappropriately around them. Some said he touched them without consent, and others documented detailed accounts and patterns of verbal abuse.

Powerful Democratic lawmakers in New York such as Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have called on him to resign.

Pelosi, however, when asked whether she believed Cuomo should resign, skirted the question.

Speaking on ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday, Pelosi said she wants to see the results of the investigation into the claims of harassment. The claims against him “must be treated with respect,” she said.

“They are credible and serious charges,” she continued. “I have confidence in the attorney general of New York. She has called for an I think expeditious investigation.”

When asked whether she believed Cuomo could be an effective leader for the state of New York at this time, Pelosi avoided answering directly.

“I think we should see the results” of the investigation, she said. “Hopefully this result will be soon. And what I’m saying is the governor should look inside his heart. He loves New York.”

He should “see if he can govern effectively,” she added.

Cuomo’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Photo captures Cuomo wrapped in a blanket outside his home after a week of sexual misconduct allegations and calls for him to resign

cuomo
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, walks on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion following allegations that he had sexually harassed young women, in Albany, New York, U.S., March 12, 2021.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has had an eventful week.
  • More women accused him of sexual misconduct and top New York lawmakers called on him to resign.
  • Cuomo was captured in a photo outside his home on Friday, wrapped in a blanket and holding a bottle.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was captured outside the governor’s mansion in Albany on Friday at the end of an eventful week.

The third-term governor was seen talking on his phone, wrapped in a blanket, and holding a bottled drink, which appears to be Saratoga sparkling water.

Cuomo’s office did not respond to Insider’s request for comment on what the governor was drinking.

Once hailed has a hero in the early stages of the pandemic, the Democrat has come under fire recently for a number of scandals, including allegations of sexual harassment.

Calls for him to resign over the allegations have escalated in recent weeks and were joined on Friday by top lawmakers, including New York’s two Democratic US senators.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a joint statement that Cuomo “should resign.” More than a dozen New York lawmakers have called for him to resign as of Friday, including progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Cuomo has apologized for his past behaviors, but has dismissed calls for him to resign.

Multiple women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior, or touching them without their consent. Two additional women came forward on Friday, while many more people have said Cuomo fostered a toxic work environment.

In the photos taken of Cuomo on Friday by Reuters, he could also be seen walking arm-in-arm with his daughter and beside his dog, Captain.

cuomo
Cuomo and his dog, Captain.

Cuomo is also facing criticism over his handling of COVID-19 nursing home deaths and bridge safety concerns.

Have a news tip? Contact this reporter at kvlamis@insider.com.

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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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Cuomo said lawmakers will have to impeach him if they want him out of office after top Democrats call for his resignation

Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen attending a press conference on September 29, 2020.

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing calls for his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment.
  • The New York Democrat said lawmakers will have to impeach him if they want him out, AP reported.
  • Six New York state lawmakers have already called for impeachment proceedings against him.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As calls grow for his resignation, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told a top state lawmaker that they would have to impeach him if they want him out of office, the Associated Press reported.

The Democrat is serving his third term as New York’s governor but has faced mounting criticism in recent weeks over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and allegations of sexual harassment. Multiple women have come forward with accusations, while many other staffers told The Washington Post Cuomo fostered a “hostile” and “toxic” workplace culture.

New York’s Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said on Sunday that Cuomo must resign, while Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie also said he had concerns over Cuomo’s “ability to continue to lead.”

Stewart-Cousins was the first senior Democrat in the state to say Cuomo should resign, joining calls already made by other state lawmakers.

Her statement came following a press call during which Cuomo said there was “no way” he resigns. He said resigning over the allegations would be “anti-Democratic.” 

“They don’t override the people’s will, they don’t get to override elections,” Cuomo said. “I was elected by the people of New York state. I wasn’t elected by politicians.”

In a phone call with Stewart-Cousins on Sunday before the press conference, Cuomo told her they would have to impeach him if they wanted him gone, a source told AP.

Some lawmakers in the state have already called for Cuomo’s impeachment.

Six Democrats issued a joint letter Tuesday, calling for impeachment proceedings against the governor in light of the sexual harassment allegations.

“The accounts of sexual harassment from the women who have courageously come forward confirm what many in Albany have known for​ ​years​:​ that Governor Cuomo uses his power to belittle, bully and harass his employees and colleagues,” the letter, which was obtained by Insider, said.

It continued: “The accounts add to recent revelations of gross misconduct. It is time for the legislature to demand accountability. Impeachment proceedings are the appropriate avenue for us to pursue as legislators to hold the Governor accountable for his many abuses of power and remove him from office.”

While Cuomo has insisted he will not resign, he has apologized for his behavior

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

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Cuomo skipped sexual harassment training – that he himself mandated – by having a staffer complete it for him, accuser says

GettyImages-andrew-cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • Gov. Cuomo made sexual harassment training mandatory for state employees in 2018.
  • But in 2019, Cuomo skipped it and had a staffer complete it for him, a former aide says.
  • That aide is also one of three women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

In 2018, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made sexual harassment training mandatory for employees in the state as part of his anti-sexual harassment agenda.

In 2019, the governor skipped the training and instead had a staffer complete it for him, according to a woman who also worked for Cuomo at the time and has since accused him of sexual harassment.

Charlotte Bennett, 25, was the second woman to come forward with accusations against Cuomo, including that he asked her deeply personal sexual questions and made inappropriate comments about her sexual assault.

In an interview with CBS that aired Thursday and Friday, Bennett, a former aide to Cuomo, recounted her experiences, adding that Cuomo did not take the sexual harassment training in 2019.

“I was there. I heard [the office director] say, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this for you’ and making a joke about the fact that she was completing the training for him,” Bennett told CBS. “And then I heard her at the end ask him to sign the certificate.”

In the wake of the allegations against him, Cuomo was asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether he had taken the sexual harassment training.

“Short answer is yes,” Cuomo responded.

 

Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to a request from Insider.

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

Bennett is one of three women who have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. The New York Times reported on Friday that the New York attorney general has asked members of Cuomo’s administration to save any records that could be relevant to the sexual harassment inquiry.

The governor has also come under fire in recent weeks for his administration’s pandemic response. The Times and The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Cuomo’s top advisers had successfully pushed health officials to alter a report that would obscure the high COVID-19 death toll in nursing homes.

Also on Friday, New York state lawmakers stripped Cuomo of the emergency powers he was granted in the early days of the pandemic, when some were praising his coronavirus response.

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New York Democratic lawmakers say they’re open to impeaching Gov. Andrew Cuomo

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

  • Several New York state lawmakers shared their thoughts with Insider on the fate of Andrew Cuomo.
  • While the Democrats largely agreed on wanting Cuomo to resign, they disagreed on impeachment.
  • Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, an influential progressive, said Cuomo should be impeached if he doesn’t resign.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

New York lawmakers from the Democratic side of the aisle are calling for accountability in the wake of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s growing sexual harassment scandal, but they say they differ on whether impeachment, resignation, or sticking with an independent investigation is the best route.

The left wing of the party has been the most aggressive, with six socialist lawmakers demanding the governor’s resignation in a letter obtained by Insider on Tuesday.

On the other end of the spectrum, leadership has resisted moving forward with impeachment or pushing for the governor’s resignation, with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, issuing a statement Tuesday that chastised Republicans for pursuing impeachment.

Despite members of his own caucus going public with their calls for impeachment, Heastie said Republicans are “trying to score meaningless political points” instead of helping New Yorkers struggling through the pandemic and economic malaise.

For Assemblyman Phil Steck, a Democrat representing the eastern part of Schenectady County in Upstate New York, impeachment poses a logistical problem with the state budget deadline approaching on April 1.

“Well I think calling for impeachment is not very sensible when we’re right in the middle of the budget,” Steck told Insider. “By the time the budget is done, I think we’ll be in a better position to see what the facts are with the governor.”

But Steck has also sought Cuomo’s resignation, and he said the governor’s sexual harassment and COVID-19 nursing home death scandals have rendered him ineffective as both an executive and de facto leader of the party.

“The reason I called for resignation is there is a consistent pattern of abusive behavior,” Steck said, with three women coming forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo. 

“I can’t predict what governor Cuomo is and is not going to do,” Steck added. “But honestly I think that in the best interests of the Democrats and the party, he should resign.”

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, a Manhattan Democrat whose district includes the Financial District and Chinatown, said she does not expect Cuomo to resign, which means that impeachment should be on the table.

“He should resign, but because that is dependent on him, we also need to be willing and ready to investigate and impeach,” Niou told Insider.

State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi, an influential progressive representing a sprawling Bronx district from North Riverdale to Pelham Bay and Throgs Neck, said impeachment is the proper remedy if Cuomo won’t resign.

“Right now I’m calling for the governor to resign, but I am not ruling out impeachment and believe it would be appropriate if he chooses not to step down himself,” Biaggi told Insider.

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat whose district covers three upstate counties in the Capital Region and Mohawk Valley, said the legislature should “keep all options on the table” even after moving on Tuesday to strip Cuomo of his emergency powers.

 

“This is beyond removing emergency powers, this is about restoring a balance of power,” Santabarbara said. 

The fifth term assemblyman also opened up about his decision making in initially coming forward to call for Cuomo’s resignation, recalling his Democratic colleague, Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens, disclosing a threatening phone call he says he received from Cuomo while giving his child a bath.

Santabarbara said he has also been on the receiving end of such calls.

“You know, it’s no secret that this governor has a history of bullying members of the legislature,” Santabarbara said. “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.”

Biaggi said she came to Albany to “break the culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and misconduct” in the Empire State capitol, and that Cuomo’s behavior cannot be tolerated.

“Based on the totality of information that we all know, there is a clear pattern of abusive behavior from our Governor that has lasted for decades,” she said. “The assertions made against the Governor by Charlotte Bennett, Lindsey Boylan, and Anna Ruch demonstrate this abuse.”

Steck added that the Cuomo allegations are “part of a pattern of an abuse of power,” and Democrats should not fall back on arguing there is a double standard for the governor compared to former President Donald Trump.

“I think if you’re comparing to Trump,” the upstate Democrat said, “you’re setting the bar too low.”

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