Several East End politicians are speaking out in varying degrees of severity amid allegations that Gov. Andrew Cuomo made unwanted sexual advances toward three women and accusations that his office shielded data on COVID-19 deaths of nursing home patients from the public.
While the nursing home accusations have been building up throughout the pandemic, the issue finally exploded with New York State Attorney General Letitia James’ recent report suggesting the statewide nursing home death toll may have been undercounted by about 50%. And within the past week, two former aides to Cuomo, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, as well as a former acquaintance at a wedding in 2019, Anna Ruch, all came out with stories describing unwanted sexual advances they said were made by Cuomo.
“Every individual should feel safe [and] comfortable in the workplace,” state Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead) said, calling the accusations disturbing. “At a minimum, an independent investigation should be conducted immediately by a special prosecutor chosen by [James].”
State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) also spoke out in support of an independent investigation of both the sexual misconduct and nursing home death allegations.
“We have already seen enough corroboration to warrant a thorough investigation,” Palumbo said. “I applaud the actions of [James] and agree that an independent investigator who is beyond reproach must conduct the investigation.”
Other lawmakers on the East End are not only supporting an independent investigation but also calling on the governor to resign, including U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley).
“Andrew Cuomo has abused the powers given to him by the people of NY [and] disgraced the governor’s office,” Zeldin said. “It’s time to take back that power, it’s time to save our state [and] it’s up to every New Yorker to hold him accountable.”
Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) has yet to comment on the sexual misconduct allegations against Cuomo, but has said he supports an investigation of the governor’s office’s handling of nursing home death data.
“I support such an investigation by any and all agencies, both state and federal, who have jurisdiction, including the State Legislature as it performs its critical oversight function,” Thiele said. “Let the chips fall where they may.”
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