Mar 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

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 Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."

  • The former female aide in the WashPost report, Karen Hinton, alleges he summoned her to a hotel room after a work event in 2000 and that she "pulled away from Cuomo, but he pulled her back toward his body, holding her before she backed away and left the room."
  • Meanwhile, Ana Liss, who was a policy and operations aide to Cuomo from 2013-2015, alleged to the Wall Street Journal that he asked "her if she had a boyfriend, called her sweetheart, touched her on her lower back at a reception and once kissed her hand when she rose from her desk."

The big picture: Cuomo has faced mounting criticism over the sexual harassment allegations, with three other women leveling complaints against him, and for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in nursing homes.

What they're saying: Peter Ajemian, Cuomo's director of communications, said in an emailed statement that Hinton's claims "did not happen" and that she is 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."

  • Responding to Liss' allegation, Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said in an emailed statement, "Reporters and photographers have covered the governor for 14 years watching him kiss men and women and posing for pictures. At the public open house  mansion‎ reception there are hundreds of people and he poses for hundreds of pictures. That's what people in politics do."
  • In regards to the male staffers' allegations, Cuomo's office said in an email that New Yorkers had elected him four times during the past 14 years and that there's "no secret these are tough jobs" and that the work is demanding."
  • "But we have a top tier team with many employees who have been here for years, and many others who have left and returned," the statement added. "The Governor is direct with employees if their work is sub-par because the people of New York deserve nothing short of excellence." 

Go deeper: Cuomo says he's "not going to resign"

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