On the morning of December 13, 2020, Lindsey Boylan sat in the passenger seat of her family’s car, along with her husband on the wheel and her six-300 and sixty five days-previous-fashioned daughter in the relieve. She started typing a sequence of tweets on her cell phone. Boylan, a dilapidated special adviser to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, had felt more and more anxious as press reports talked about Cuomo as a potential Criminal professional Well-liked in the Biden Administration. For bigger than a 300 and sixty five days, she had been elevating allegations on Twitter that Cuomo presided over a hostile and poisonous office, initially drawing minute consideration. Per week earlier than, Boylan had tweeted every other time, and one other dilapidated Cuomo worker had reached out to her privately, to share a story of being sexually confused by the Governor. “I felt actually accountable for what came about to this lady, because of this of I didn’t function one thing about it,” Boylan told me, in her first detailed interview about her allegations. She saw the experiences about Cuomo’s political prospects as a cause for urgency.
In the automobile, she started tweeting allegations that Cuomo had sexually confused her, too. “@NYGovCuomo sexually confused me for years. Many saw it, and watched,” she wrote. She referenced harassment about her looks and described an unpredictable and intimidating office trip. Her husband became conscious of the tweets most productive as the reaction started to homicide on-line. “I felt be pleased I became once simply exploded,” Boylan recalled. “And he felt be pleased he became once having a coronary heart assault.”
As Boylan’s disclosures started to plot understand on social media, a team of newest and dilapidated Cuomo staffers who served as his informal crisis-communications mind belief moved to squash them “in proper time,” in line with one person with issue files of the anguish. Participants of that team incorporated Melissa DeRosa, a senior aide; Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesperson; and Steven M. Cohen, a dilapidated secretary to the Governor. They circulated Boylan’s tweets and held a sequence of pressing calls. The team had simply emerged from a frantic effort to acknowledge to allegations that Cuomo’s office had deliberately undercounted COVID-connected deaths in New York nursing properties. They were “striking that to bed, and then she pipes up. And then it’s kind of a plentiful hotfoot,” the person with issue files of the anguish told me. “It became once, be pleased, what the hell function we offer out about this?” Cuomo’s advisers arrived at a notion to leak Boylan’s personnel records, which incorporated allegations that Boylan had bullied colleagues, some of them females of coloration. “The choice became once made collectively,” the person with issue files of the anguish said. “That these are info, the journalists must mute sight them.”
An intermediary who says that he became once no longer on the calls, Rich Bamberger, a dilapidated communications director for Cuomo who now works for the public-relatives agency Kivvit, known as several journalists and suggested them to contact the Governor’s office. In line with the person with files of the conversations, Azzopardi then despatched Boylan’s personnel files to journalists. By day’s cease, several of the complaints about Boylan had seemed in experiences, by the Associated Press, the New York Put up, and the Albany-essentially essentially based Times Union. Boylan recalled being stupefied by the articles. “I couldn’t circulate. I couldn’t breathe,” she said. In the ensuing days, Cuomo aides started contacting of us that had worked underneath Boylan—which some of the recipients learned intimidating, the Wall Avenue Journal reported closing week. Cuomo advisers also concept about releasing a letter attacking Boylan’s credibility and recognition, drafts of which were first reported by the Times this week. They finally decided against releasing the letter. “My lifestyles became once, you know, for a period, destroyed,” Boylan told me. In a commentary, Beth Garvey, Cuomo’s acting counsel, said, “With sure restricted exceptions, as a in vogue topic, it is within a govt entity’s discretion to share redacted employment records, including in conditions when members of the media are expecting for such public files and when it is for the just of correcting incorrect or misleading statements.”
Boylan’s allegations largely dilapidated from public stumble on, till closing month, when she posted a detailed legend of her trip on Medium. Boylan told me, for the length of a sequence of prolonged interviews, that she decided to command her allegations by the stutter of on-line posts and initially declined interview requests from journalists because of this of “having any individual dissect my trauma is no longer one thing I needed.” She said that the essay took her bigger than a month to write. “I spotted I needed to absorb this trip,” she told me. “It became once one thing I became once going to absorb to discuss at closing.” A series of disclosures about Cuomo from other females, including a couple of allegations of harassment and one of groping, mercurial followed Boylan’s. “Seeing Lindsey’s memoir became once a large accept as true with my decision to reach ahead,” Charlotte Bennett, a dilapidated Cuomo staffer who started publicly discussing her legend of sexual harassment by the Governor after Boylan’s Medium post, told me. “Coming ahead didn’t actually feel be pleased a resolution—it felt be pleased my responsibility to validate Lindsey’s memoir and signal to others that it became once O.K. to reach ahead.”
The revelations absorb left Cuomo’s political future in New York, which he has ruled since 2011, in a free drop. He now faces probes by both the New York authorized professional in vogue, Letitia James, and the verbalize assembly, which this week retained a guidelines agency for that just. Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Manual Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and other prominent Democrats in the verbalize congressional delegation absorb known as for the Governor to resign. This week, President Biden, a longtime ally of Cuomo’s, said that the Governor must mute step down if the allegations are confirmed by investigators. Cuomo acknowledged some of the harassment allegations, pronouncing, “I now understand that I acted in a technique that made of us actually feel unhappy,” nevertheless he maintained that his behavior became once unintended and denied all allegations that he “touched anybody inappropriately.” A spokesperson added, “As we said earlier than, Ms. Boylan’s claims of rotten behavior are quite simply counterfeit.”
Till December 13th, Cuomo’s grip on power in New York had been reach-absolute, a dominance secured now and then by his willingness to discredit and intimidate his adversaries. Then Boylan posted her tweets. In the starting up, it gave the affect as if she would meet the equal destiny as so many others who had challenged the Governor. Now, the Cuomo team’s response would possibly well possibly well prove to be one of its closing efforts to frighten an opponent into submission.
Between 2015 and 2018, Boylan served in different govt roles, including deputy secretary for financial trend. In 2016, she started interacting with Cuomo right away and had her first encounters with a office tradition underneath him that she said became once rife with bullying and retribution. “It became once poisonous, and namely for females,” she said. Her description matched those of a couple of newest and dilapidated Cuomo staffers I spoke with, though others told me that the office tradition became once intense nevertheless no longer rotten. Boylan’s leaked personnel files reportedly possess allegations that she bullied females who worked along with her, including Dim females. Several dilapidated colleagues of Boylan’s, none of whom are Dim, told me that they learned the claims believable and said that they had also learned Boylan herself to be a hostile presence in the office. “I’ve seen Lindsey function her job smartly, nevertheless I’ve also had experiences the establish I felt belittled or bullied by her,” a dilapidated colleague, who spoke on situation of anonymity, told me. Others disputed that legend or said that Boylan’s behavior became once in keeping with a conference the establish volatility became once the norm. “It became once a onerous situation to be,” Joel Wertheimer, an authorized professional who served as Cuomo’s workers secretary, told me. “They were putrid and awful.” Wertheimer quit after simply seven months, dispirited by the atmosphere. He’s now a campaign handbook to Boylan, who’s working for Long island borough president. He added, “I also became once no longer essentially the most productive version of myself after I became once working there.”
Boylan said that Cuomo situation the tone, ridiculing several of his closest staffers, including Stephanie Benton, the director of the Governor’s offices. “I undergo in suggestions, Stephanie had a haircut that he kept making relaxing of her for all day in front of other of us. And she became once crying,” Boylan said. (Benton, who’s mute employed in verbalize govt, said that Boylan’s legend became once incorrect and that the Governor had continuously treated her smartly, including, “If I felt otherwise, I would possibly well possibly well discuss for myself.”) Boylan also said that Cuomo every other time and every other time ranted about one other staffer, a younger male aide, being “elephantine.” The younger male aide, who no longer works for Cuomo, declined to comment on his trip and requested no longer to be named. Boylan described the office tradition underneath the Governor as aggressive and combative. At a celebration in the pool house on the Governor’s mansion, in Albany, Boylan recalled seeing a dartboard bearing a photo of Invoice de Blasio, Cuomo’s antagonist since he became once elected Mayor of New York City, in 2014. “I couldn’t accept as true with how brazen that became once,” she said. (A spokesperson for the Governor declined to comment on the dartboard.)
Boylan had her first interaction with Cuomo after a speech he gave at Madison Sq. Garden on January 6, 2016, when she became once working as the executive of workers at Empire Narrate Pattern, a verbalize entity that promotes financial growth. She said that he perceived to pay an outlandish quantity of consideration to her. Soon afterward, she said, her boss, Howard Zemsky, told her that Cuomo had a “crush” on her. (Zemsky didn’t acknowledge to a establish a question to for comment.) Sooner or later of the following two years, Boylan said, the Governor every other time and every other time commented on her appearance and touched her bigger than she felt became once mandatory or professional. “He would establish his hand on my decrease relieve,” Boylan said, including that her experiences mirrored those of one other lady, Anna Ruch, who told the Times that the Governor touched her decrease relieve and requested to kiss her at a wedding reception. “He would to find a methodology to, be pleased, contact me in passing—getting on the airplane, getting off the airplane,” Boylan said. “He recurrently stared at my legs.”
Kelsey DePalo, who met Boylan when both attended Wellesley Faculty, told me that Boylan became once initially excited to work with Cuomo, nevertheless her perspective right now changed. “She would discuss how he became once creepy,” DePalo recalled. “We would discuss, you know, how when, if any individual opens a door for you, they’ll birth a door, or they’ll birth a door and establish their hand on the little of your relieve. They’ll lean over to command you one thing, or lean over to command you one thing and also establish their hand on your knee.” She added, “It is likely you’ll possibly possibly well most often opt any individual, be pleased, looking out at your outfit in a technique that makes you feel unhappy. Or commenting on your appearance. And so she would allege how he gave her the creeps, and became once very sensitive-feely in ways in which made her actually feel highly unhappy.”
One other buddy, apart from Boylan’s mom and husband, told me that Boylan had discussed the same concerns with them in 2016 and 2017. Boylan’s mom, Karen Boylan, saw the behavior as a pattern. “I hoped she would discontinuance some distance from him,” she told me. Karen told me that, years earlier, she had quit a job as an accountant at a guidelines agency after her boss sexually confused her. Boylan became once in excessive faculty on the time, and told me that her mom’s trip, which she referred to in her first tweets about her harassment allegations, deeply affected her. Boylan’s mom said that she had described the harassment to her daughter to situation up her for what she would possibly well possibly well face in the office. “It became once one thing that we talked about loads whereas she became once rising up,” Karen told me. “, you hope your teens be taught from this.”
In an e-mail despatched on August 4, 2016, Karen wrote, to her daughter, “I became once pondering after our dialog closing night about Governor Cuomo… I would possibly well possibly well hate (couldn’t tolerate) residing with a accomplice or husband who behaved be pleased that with females. It sounds very rotten what he says to you too.” Three months later, Boylan forwarded her mom an e-mail in which a Cuomo staffer requested Boylan’s supervisor whether she would possibly well possibly be at an tournament the Governor became once attending. “It’s monstrous,” Boylan told her mom, in a textual reveal material that day. “I simply desire I is likely to be told how immense I am in line with my intelligence and skills relatively than some boring thing.” (A spokesperson for Cuomo said that the staffer who despatched the e-mail “oversaw events and scheduling, so it became once her job to understand what relevant senior members of the team—male and feminine—would possibly well possibly be attending Governor events.”)
Boylan said that the Governor recurrently sought her out, most often taking her some distance from substantive responsibilities to satisfy a feature she felt became once ornamental. The Regional Economic Pattern Council awards, in Albany, in December, 2016, were the fruits of a 300 and sixty five days’s work for Boylan. The financial awards to native companies and organizations are a allotment of Cuomo’s financial approach and were a centerpiece of Boylan’s portfolio. After the awards, a Cuomo aide aggressively pressed Boylan to return to New York City on a helicopter with Cuomo and Maria Bartiromo, a tv host, who had spoken on the tournament. Boylan refused. “He likes to establish females next to one one more,” Boylan said. “Love we’re allotment of his tools, or his minute, you know, dolls.” (A spokesperson for Cuomo said that the flight arrangements were “no longer a level of opponents.”) A couple of days later, Benton, the Cuomo aide, e-mailed Boylan, telling her that the Governor had urged Boylan stumble on up a lady that colleagues had told her became once romantically linked to the Governor. “You is likely to be sisters,” Benton wrote. “Besides you’re the better looking out sister.” (Benton told me, “That became once my are attempting at banter, no longer his.”)
At a vacation party held at an Albany conference heart later that month, Boylan said, when the Governor approached her, she left the room. Later that day, she said, the younger male aide, who Boylan said had been bullied, known as and told her that the Governor wished her to reach to the Capitol. (The aide declined to comment on the name.) As Boylan walked to Cuomo’s office in the Capitol, she known as her husband and told him that she became once panicked. In a commentary, her husband said that he would possibly well possibly well “sense absolute terror in her converse.” Cuomo showed her his office, and known as consideration to a cigar field that he told her became once a present from President Invoice Clinton. Since childhood, Boylan had idolized Hillary Clinton. She once waited in line for hours to absorb a photo fascinated along with her, an trip that she said “changed my lifestyles.” Boylan said that the evident reference to Clinton’s sexual behavior panicked her, because of this of the Governor knew that she concept about Hillary Clinton a feature mannequin. “It became once deeply distressing,” Boylan told me.