A fourth woman has accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of inappropriate behavior, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Ana Liss is also the third former aide to allege that Cuomo acted inappropriately at work. Liss, who worked as a policy and operations aide from 2013 to 2015, told the Journal that Cuomo asked if she had a boyfriend and called her “sweetheart.” Liss also said the governor touched her on her lower back and one time kissed her hand.
Last week, two other former staffers accused Cuomo of unwanted sexual advances.
On Friday, Lindsey Boylan said that Cuomo made unwanted sexual advances toward her. She resigned in 2018 after the governor kissed her on the lips without her consent. The following day, Charlotte Bennett said that Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions and also made unwanted sexual advances toward her.
Following those allegations, Cuomo issued a statement on Sunday and said his behavior towards women had been “misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation.”
He said he teased people about their personal lives but never propositioned or inappropriately touched anyone.
On Monday, Anna Ruch told The New York Times that she met Cuomo at a wedding in September 2019. He allegedly placed a hand on her bare lower back and called her ‘aggressive’ when she removed it. Ruch said Cuomo then placed his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her.
Karen Hinton, who worked as a consultant for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development while Cuomo led the agency in the late 1990s, told The Washington Post that she had an inappropriate exchange with Cuomo in 2000.
Hinton worked at the agency for 4½ years and reportedly had “contentious” disputes with Cuomo, including a screaming match filled with profanities right before her departure.
She alleged that Cuomo called her to his hotel room after an event in California, when he pulled her towards his body and held her before she backed away and left.
Peter Ajemian, Cuomo’s director of communications, told Insider that Hinton’s account to the Post was inaccurate.
“Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago. All women have the right to come forward and tell their story — however, it’s also the responsibility of the press to consider self-motivation. This is reckless,” Ajemian said.
Several other aides also told the Post that Cuomo fostered an abusive workplace culture. “You didn’t know which Andrew you were going to get,” said one woman who worked at HUD during Cuomo’s tenure told the Post.
Young women who worked for Cuomo and remained anonymous for fear of retaliation told both the Post and Journal that Cuomo would ask about their dating lives. Three of the women told the Post that they didn’t see these as propositions but as part of the larger culture that degraded women in Cuomo’s office. The Journal reported the women also accused Cuomo of touching them and commenting on the way they looked.
Rich Azzopardi, a senior Cuomo aide, told the Post that he’d never heard that type of abusive language used.
“The people of this state elected the Governor to represent them four times during the last 14 years and they know he works day and night for them. There is no secret these are tough jobs, and the work is demanding, but we have a top tier team with many employees who have been here for years, and many others who have left and returned. The Governor is direct with employees if their work is sub-par because the people of New York deserve nothing short of excellence,” Azzopardi told Insider in a statement.