New York’s Assembly Judiciary Committee released its report on former Governor Andrew Cuomo, finding that he engaged in multiple counts of sexual harassment and misused state resources to promote his book.
Many of the findings corroborate those by state Attorney General Letitia James. Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing. A spokesman for the former governor did not immediately return a request for comment.
“This has been a profoundly sad chapter in New York’s history,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Democrat, said in releasing the report. “As we have throughout this process, we will continue to cooperate with all relevant investigative bodies to provide them with the evidence we have uncovered.”
The committee began its investigation in March to determine whether Cuomo should remain in office. The committee does not have the legal authority to impeach him now that he’s no longer in office, according to the report.
The 63-page document, completed by lawyers from Davis Polk & Wardwell, found Cuomo created a “hostile work environment” and engaged in sexual misconduct. While Cuomo’s lawyers did provide submissions to the committee on the governor’s behalf, Cuomo failed to “meaningfully respond” to the subpoenas asking for relevant documents, according to the report.
The Assembly review found Cuomo used state property and resources including members of the Executive Chamber staff to write, publish and promote his book “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.” James’s office is conducting a criminal probe into whether Cuomo improperly used government resources for the $5.2 million book deal.
Some senior state officials worked “extensively” on the book, and it was done as part of their regular course of work during business hours, according to the Assembly report. One senior state official said the book-related assignments were given by superiors and expected to be done, adding that it was not voluntary, as Cuomo and his attorneys have said. Another senior state official said the work on the book was compromising their ability to work on Covid-related matters.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee report also found that Cuomo was not fully transparent regarding the number of nursing-home residents who died as a result of the coronavirus.
A report on Covid-related nursing-home deaths released in July by the state Health Department was substantially revised by the Executive Chamber and “largely intended to combat criticisms regarding former Governor Cuomo’s directive that nursing homes should readmit residents that had been diagnosed with COVID-19,” the Assembly review said.
The report did not conclude whether Cuomo’s administration mishandled construction of the Mario Cuomo Bridge, saying that substantial further evidence would need to be gathered. Given Cuomo’s resignation, the committee instructed Davis Polk not to pursue the investigation, noting it would be at great cost to taxpayers. The committee will make the evidence it gathered available to the appropriate authorities.
Assembly investigators collected more than 600,000 pages of documents, including photographs, text messages, emails, phone calls, and video recordings. The testimony of more than 200 individuals was used as well.
Cuomo resigned in August after James released a report detailing a pattern of alleged harassment against female state employees and other women. He was charged on Oct. 28 with a misdemeanor sex crime by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office for alleged forcible touching or placing his hand under an unidentified woman’s blouse and groping her in the governor’s mansion.
“The former governor’s conduct – as shown in this report – is extremely disturbing and is indicative of someone who is not fit for office,” Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Lavine, a Democrat, said in the release. “I hope this report helps New Yorkers further understand the seriousness of the allegations that have been made and serves to guide us to a more ethical and responsible government.”