NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to dispute allegations of sexual harassment and workplace bullying, there are demands for an independent investigation into the claims.
If you wanted to hear from Cuomo on Thursday about the accusations made by former aide Lindsey Boylan, you were plumb out of luck, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
The closest reporters got was a Team Cuomo-sanctioned conference call with top advisor Steve Cohen, a former federal prosecutor, who wanted to defend the governor’s actions in the nursing home scandal, not discuss Boylan and calls for independent investigation into her charges.
Lord knows, Kramer tried.
“What Marcia was saying was even though my experience as a former prosecutor and defense attorney, and the answer is, yeah, that’s not what I am here to talk about,” Cohen said.
Kramer’s questions to Cohen, who was chief of staff to Cuomo when he was attorney general, related to calls from five female Republican senators for state Attorney General Letitia James to appoint a special prosecutor.
“If there is no merit or truth to the allegations, then I’m sure the governor would be a willing participant. But if there is any truth or merit to these allegations, we want to make sure that none of this continues. This is not something that we’re willing to tolerate at state level government,” state Sen. Alexis Weik said.
Boylan charges in a blog post that the governor created a culture “within his administration where sexual harassment and bullying is so pervasive that it is not only condoned but expected.”
She also charges that Cuomo kissed her and asked her to play strip poker in 2017, charges the governor has flatly denied.
Boylan first made allegations of sexual harassment last December. At that time, personal records surfaced indicating Boylan resigned her state post after she was confronted about harassing several female employees who worked for her.
Cohen was also asked about the governor’s management style.
“He has never shied from giving those around him, those who are working for him in his administration, accurate, blunt feedback,” Cohen said. “Getting the best out of people is what he wants. But to get that out of people means you push and you demand and you are blunt at times, and it can be bruising for some people.”
As for Boylan’s charges, Cohen said, “I have never seen anything of the like of what Ms. Boylan has described,” Cohen said.
A spokesperson for Attorney General James told Kramer the office is reviewing the request for a special prosecutor.