East End state legislators quickly joined the chorus of elected officials calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign or be impeached after N.Y. Attorney General Letitia James released a report concluding that the governor is a serial sexual harasser and created a toxic work environment.
Cuomo has denied the allegations and yesterday said “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed.” In a statement posted yesterday on the state’s website, Cuomo’s attorney Rita Glavin called the attorney general’s findings “unfair and inaccurate” and “purposefully omits key findings.”
The investigation found that the governor sexually harassed 11 women. Some were members of his staff, while others were employees in other state offices, including a state trooper, as well as two women who were not state employees. The investigation also found “the culture within the Executive Chamber—rife with fear and intimidation and accompanied by a consistent overlooking of inappropriate flirtations and other sexually suggestive and gender-based comments by the Governor—enabled the … harassment to occur and created a hostile work environment overall.” The inquiry and the report were completed at the request of the attorney general by six lawyers from two different law firms.
Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) said in a statement he has read the report and concurs with its findings. The investigation was conducted by independent investigators and afforded all parties appropriate due process, Thiele said.
“The findings of the report are clear. The harrowing details depicted in the report confirm that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed current and former state employees and created a hostile work environment,” Thiele said.
Since the governor has made it known he has no intention to resign, Thiele said, “the Assembly must move with all deliberate speed to begin impeachment proceedings.”
State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), who called on Cuomo to resign in March, renewed that call yesterday. Palumbo said the governor should resign immediately. The report makes it clear Cuomo is not fit to hold office as the state’s top executive, Palumbo said.
“If the governor, driven by his arrogance and hubris, refuses to resign, then the Assembly Democratic Conference must take immediate action and begin impeachment proceedings,” Palumbo said.
The Democratic conference agrees, according to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. After a call with the Assembly’s Democratic conference, which controls the chamber, Heastie said it is ”abundantly clear … the governor has lost the confidence of the Assembly Democratic majority and that he can no longer remain in office.”
Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Baiting Hollow) said the governor’s behavior as described in the report was “frankly disgusting” and Cuomo “should be ashamed of himself.” She, too, called on Cuomo to step down. If he refuses, Giglio said, “he should be impeached immediately while he faces prosecution and ongoing criminal investigation by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.”
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