ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Attorney General’s investigation into sexual harassment claims against Governor Cuomo revealed members of the Executive Chamber recalled seeing the governor yell and scream at staff for perceived mistakes, some even saying the governor tried to humiliate them.
The AG report cites fear among state employees of clashing with Governor Cuomo or his staff.
“One former Executive Chamber employee testified that he was concerned about his ability to work in New York State politics were he to disobey any directive by the senior staff or governor,” the report reads.
While some employees denied such an environment, the AG report ultimately concluded that a toxic culture contributed to making women afraid to come forward with the allegations of sexual harassment.
Some lawmakers, too, claim the governor has similarly tried to intimidate or bully them.
“I think many of us have tolerated his bullying tactic, and just wrote it off as him just being an angry, out of touch governor,” said Assemblyman Ron Kim (D).
In February, Kim said he had a phone call with Governor Cuomo in which he threatened to ruin the legislator’s reputation and political career if he didn’t fall in line after making negative comments about Cuomo to the press. Governor Cuomo called Kim’s position a “political vendetta,” and his senior adviser called Kim a liar.
Kim couldn’t stay silent amid the controversies, and claims lawmakers sometimes have to bite their tongues when dealing with the governor’s office so they can provide for their constituents.
“What do you do when you need resources, and he has the key to them? He had a powerful platform and he was able to control the national narrative about how effective he was as a leader,” Kim said. “Many of us didn’t have a choice but to play ball with him and submit to his powers.”
Kim said even his consultants advised him not to criticize the governor or he’d lose his assembly re-election last year. But with the AG’s report now laid out, Kim says it’s time for action on the sexual harassment claims and other issues.
“The top prosecutor has come out and said the governor broke federal and state laws. I believe we have a legal and ethical duty to immediately remove him from a position of power,” Kim explained, “so we can hold him accountable for the other pending investigations, like the book deal and nursing home deaths.”