Popular during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo was overwhelmed on Tuesday, August 3, by the findings of an independent investigation, accusing him of sexually harassing several women and instituting a culture of fear in his administration.
Asked if he should resign, she added: “The decision rests with the governor of the State of New York. The report speaks for itself”. Nevertheless, Letitia James clarified that the case was “of a civil nature and has no consequences at the criminal level”.
Eleven complainants at the bar
“Unwanted kisses and hugs”, “inappropriate comments” , inappropriate gestures, the list of acts attributed to the governor, in place since 2010 and aged 63, is overwhelming. His team quickly announced that the governor, who had previously refused to resign and denied the charges, would respond at 1 p.m.
But the calls for resignation were not long in coming. “The behaviour of the governor underlined by this report does not correspond to someone who corresponds to this function”, reacted very quickly to the leader of the Democrats in the lower house of the State of New York, Carl Heastie, who had already released the governor because of this affair.
“There are eleven complainants whose allegations are set out in great detail in the report. Nine of them are or were employed by the State of New York or an entity affiliated with the State ” , explained one of the two persons in charge of the independent investigation, Joon Kim, who spoke alongside Letitia James.
According to the conclusions of the investigation, the governor and members of his staff “also took retaliatory measures against at least one employee for having testified”.
“The governor’s executive team fostered a toxic work environment which made harassment and a hostile work atmosphere possible, “ added the state attorney’s office.
“It was a culture where you couldn’t say no to the governor,” Joon Kim summed up. Andrew Cuomo had been heard at length by investigators on July 17.
A seasoned politician, Andrew Cuomo had become a figure during the Covid-19 pandemic, with many recognizing his skill and grasp in handling the situation when New York and its region was the epicentre of the crisis in the spring of 2020.
Some had even pushed Andrew Cuomo, son of a governor, ex-minister in the government of Bill Clinton and friend of Joe Biden, to run for the White House.
But a year later, his position had been weakened by the first accusations of sexual harassment.
A former economic adviser, Lindsey Boylan, had claimed that the governor had kissed her unsolicited on the mouth and suggested that she play strip poker with him when she worked with him between 2015 and 2018. Then another ex-collaborator, Charlotte Bennett had affirmed that the governor had made advances to her which had made her “uncomfortable” in the spring of 2020.
A few days later, Anna Ruch, 33, who has never worked with him, told the New York Times that he “shocked” her by wanting to kiss her against her will at a wedding in 2019.