ALBANY — A report published Tuesday said a sixth woman has come forward with a harassment allegation against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, but the governor said he was unaware of any new complaints.
The Albany Times Union reported a woman has alleged Cuomo touched her inappropriately in 2020 at the governor’s mansion "where she had been summoned to do work." It wasn’t immediately clear if the woman was working for the administration at the time.
The newspaper reported the Cuomo administration had been made aware of the allegation and had informed Attorney General Letitia James, whose office began an investigation into the claims against the governor made by two former state employees. James’ office would not comment.
Cuomo, in a media conference call more than an hour after the story was published, told reporters: "I am not aware of any other claim."
The Democrat noted the ongoing probe and said, "I’m going to respect that investigation."
Reinforcing what he’s said about previous allegations by ex-aides, he added: "I never touched anyone inappropriately. As I said last week, I never made any inappropriate advances. As I said last week, no one ever told me at the time that I made them feel uncomfortable."
Among the chief sexual harassment allegations against him, one former aide said Cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss and another said he made unwanted advances, asked her about her sex life and said he was open to relationships with younger women.
A third ex-aide said Cuomo kissed her hand and cheek and made flirtatious comments that she didn’t initially report but later came to see them as improper in a work environment. A fourth woman, who didn’t work for the administration, said that at a wedding the governor touched her bare back, cupped her face and tried to kiss her. A fifth woman, Cuomo’s communications adviser when he was in President Bill Clinton’s administration, said Cuomo once invited her to his hotel room and gave her an embrace that was "too long, too tight, too intimate."
The governor is fighting for his political life following multiple controversies. Not only is Cuomo facing the harassment allegations but also the federal government is investigating how his administration handled COVID-19 and data regarding nursing home deaths. Those, along with people going public with accounts of Cuomo using bullying tactics, has triggered some of his fellow Democrats to call for him to step down.
Most significantly, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) has said the controversies have become a hindrance and Cuomo "must resign." The governor has said there is "no way" he’s resigning and asked New Yorkers to await James’ investigation before making up their minds.
The governor reiterated his view when asked Tuesday if he still planned on running for a fourth term as he previously said.
"Todays’ not a day for politics," Cuomo told a reporter before adding, "You don’t know any facts. You know allegations. You don’t know facts. Let’s get all the facts, then we can have a discussion."
After Cuomo’s conference call, a leading Republican critic repeated his call for the governor to leave office.
"Yesterday’s and today’s press conferences by the governor have demonstrated these allegations mean nothing to him," Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt, of Niagara County, said. "His threatening tone during these press events are clear signals to anyone that he does not want victims to come forward. … I have called for the governor’s resignation and I stand by it — he has ceded the public trust and is incapable of leading this state."
Republicans have been urging the legislature to take up an impeachment resolution. But it hasn’t gained traction in the Democratic-run Assembly and Senate.