Six former employees of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said they were contacted by his office in the days after an ex-aide accused the governor of sexual harassment in December, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
Some of the people who were called said they hadn’t heard from the administration in months and saw the calls as intimidation attempts, according to the newspaper.
“I felt intimidated, and I felt bewildered,” said Ana Liss, a former aide to the governor who received one of the calls. Liss has also accused the governor of inappropriate behavior.
Lindsey Boylan, who tweeted in December that Cuomo had sexually harassed her “for years,” wrote in a Medium essay last month that Cuomo had subjected her to “pervasive harassment” when she worked for him.
Boylan, now a candidate for Manhattan borough president in New York City, worked for the Cuomo administration from 2015 to 2018, and accused Cuomo of making numerous inappropriate comments in front of other people and kissing her on the lips when they were alone.
Six women have accused Cuomo of inappropriate behavior, prompting calls for him to resign. Cuomo has denied touching anyone inappropriately, but he has acknowledged that he acted in ways that made people feel uncomfortable. He said that was unintentional and apologized.
The governor’s office did not respond to NBC News’ request for comments regarding the calls to former employees in December, but Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to Cuomo, told the Wall Street Journal that the office did not intimidate anyone.
“There was no directed effort—this outreach happened organically when everyone’s phone started to blow up,” Azzopardi said.
“After Ms. Boylan’s tweets in December, she, and her lawyers and members of the press began reaching out to former members of the Chamber, many of whom never worked with her,” Azzopardi said in a statement. “Those former members of the Chamber called to let various staff people know and convey that they were upset by the outreach. As a result, we proactively reached out to some former colleagues to check in and make sure they had a heads up.”
On Thursday night, after the Wall Street Journal’s report was published, Boylan tweeted that she did not have a lawyer at the time.