The top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo resigned Sunday, leading to speculation that Cuomo himself might soon follow.
Melissa DeRosa, who led one effort to retaliate against Cuomo accuser Lindsey Boylan, according to a New York attorney general’s report, was also heavily involved in Cuomo’s nursing home scandal and had been accused of altering reports to bend the facts to the governor’s preferred version of events.
Melissa DeRosa, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide, has resigned, less than a week after the New York State attorney general released a report concluding Cuomo had sexually harassed 11 women. https://t.co/VuothHCkhz
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 9, 2021
“It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years. New Yorkers’ resilience, strength, and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day,” the statement said. “I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues on behalf of our state.”
In its reporting, The New York Times cited an unidentified source as saying that DeRosa had “determined that Mr. Cuomo no longer had a path to stay in office and that she would no longer be willing to stand up in public as his defender.” The Times described the source as “requesting anonymity to discuss private conversations in the middle of criminal investigations into the governor.”
The report compiled by New York State Attorney General Letitia James said DeRosa was livid with the governor after accusations filed against him by former aide Charlotte Bennett.
“I can’t believe that this happened. I can’t believe you put yourself in a situation where you would be having any version of this conversation,” DeRosa said, according to the report.
The report also said that DeRosa sought to stifle reporting about a state trooper who accused the governor of sexually harassing her.
The report further said DeRosa mined Boylan’s confidential file for information that could be unleashed against her in public to undermine the credibility of her accusations.
Remember this story about Larry Schwartz, the vaccine czar, calling county executives to ask if they were going to be calling for the governor to resign? Report says Cuomo top aide Melissa DeRosa told him to make the calls. https://t.co/Rfuu5YQKgu
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) August 3, 2021
DeRosa’s resignation comes as the state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee meets Monday, according to CNN, and could decide upon a timeline for possible impeachment against Cuomo, who has so far resisted call from state and national Democrats at all levels to resign.
As his top aide, DeRosa was linked to the workplace culture denounced in the report.
Ross Barkan, who authored a book about Cuomo, wrote in New York magazine, that “At every turn, DeRosa and her colleagues enabled Cuomo’s predation.”
The attorney general’s report painted a damning picture of the state’s Executive Chamber.
“Over the course of our investigation, most witnesses not in the Governor’s inner circle provided a consistent narrative as to the office culture of the Executive Chamber, describing it as ‘toxic’ and full of bullying-type behavior, where unflinching loyalty to the Governor and his senior staff was highly valued,” the report read.
“Several State employees, including those outside of the Executive Chamber, told us that they believed their careers in New York State government would be over if they were to cross the Governor or senior staff, including by reporting any misconduct,” it said.
In March, published reports put DeRosa at the center of the Cuomo administration’s efforts to under-report the numbers of people who died in nursing homes due to COVID-19.
Congress should hold public hearings & investigate what appears to be Cuomo’s reckless disregard for the lives of seniors.
Will Dem Chairmen be willing to do so?
“Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa ADMITS they hid nursing home data so feds wouldn’t find out.” https://t.co/UNZhWQejh7
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) February 12, 2021
“The central role played by the governor’s top aides reflected the lengths to which Mr. Cuomo has gone in the middle of a deadly pandemic to control data, brush aside public health expertise and bolster his position as a national leader in the fight against the coronavirus,” The New York Times reported.
DeRosa has admitted the state kept the real data secret to evade a potential Trump administration investigation that emerged in the late summer of 2020.
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