A Black female attorney who formerly worked in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive chamber for several years is questioning the validity and timing of sexual harassment allegations lodged against the governor.
Meanwhile, Harlem Assemblywoman Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan) said while she feels State Attorney General Letitia James is well-qualified to investigate the allegations, the amount of elected officials calling for his resignation could taint the investigation for political reasons.
Both Dickens and the woman, who worked with Cuomo in the executive chamber for more than two years, feel the governor is being railroaded, and that the call from many officials for him to resign over the allegations harms the due process that a person is innocent until proven guilty.
“We’re growing in an age of cancel culture and if we’re not careful it will come back and flip on us. If we keep going and believe immediately all this stuff and then it gets recanted then we go back to the space where no one believes women,” said the source, who declined to be identified for this interview for fear of retribution.
The source and Dickens also expressed concern that the sexual harassment allegations superceded the controversy surrounding the Cuomo administration’s handling of COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes. They also suggested that race may have also played a factor.
“It’s really unfortunate that the death of thousands of New Yorkers [in the nursing home scandal] had to take a back seat of allegations from white women. That the history of white women allegations is still given number one preference over anything,” said the source.
The source said she often saw Lindsey Boylan, who is currently running for Manhattan borough president, interact with Cuomo and that she seemed to be excited about working closely with someone in power.
“I can’t see him [Cuomo] asking her to play strip poker. I never observed him doing anything like that,” the source said.
The source suggested the scandals surrounding Cuomo are more of a reckoning for his political demeanor rather than concern over his treatment of women.
“To me, people have been wanting to get Cuomo, calling him a bully for his intimidating tactics, but had nothing to hang their hat on and needed to survive. Then when the number of nursing home deaths came out they ran with everything else. It was railroading and seizing the moment,” the source added.
Dickens, on both a Facebook post, which has since been taken down, and in an interview with PoliticsNY, also brought up that Boylan — who first raised sexual harassment allegations against the governor — is currently polling last in her run for borough president. She suggested Boylan had ulterior motives for coming forward.
“I’m not convicting her at this time but neither am I convicting him at this time. I suspect she is angry for him not backing her candidacy, failing to fund her campaign and/or she is trying to get the women’s sympathy vote,” said Dickens.
Dickens noted the second allegation was of something Cuomo said and that he didn’t touch her and it could be interpreted several ways.
“The third woman wasn’t a Government employee. They were at a wedding with 500 people. No in the corner, in the dark of night but in broad daylight at a party of massive people and she says he touched her back. Well so what. Turn around ask him excuse me are you trying to get my attention because I don’t know you. That’s what a Black woman would have done – handled her business knowing that often sexiness is used to secure favor,” wrote Dickens on Facebook.
“The latest said, ‘he didn’t touch me but he said I dressed like a lumberjack with a red plaid button-down shirt.’ Quite inappropriate office attire particularly in government. I’ve asked staff inappropriately dressed are they the hoochee mama on the corner. And in Albany male staff cannot enter the chambers without a tie and jacket on,” she wrote.
Dickens said the women who said Cuomo groped her in the governor’s mansion should be the only allegations investigated.
Editor’s note: After the original version of this story went live Monday morning, we received feedback from readers who suggested that the story sought to discount the allegations made against the governor. It was not the intent of this story, which has nonetheless been revised to further clarify the statements made by Dickens and the source.