Disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed 12 women, including seven staffers, hid the accurate number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths, and pressured state employees to help write his $5.1 million pandemic memoir, according to a damning independent impeachment report released Monday.
The findings released by the State Assembly reveal that the Cuomo administration’s nursing home report released last July was “substantially revised by the Executive Chamber,” as well as that the ex-governor has misled the public about the harassment allegations brought against him.
The release of the Assembly’s report follows the publication of state Attorney General Letitia James’ monumental sexual harassment probe on Aug. 3. That separate investigation concluded Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women, in violation of state and federal laws.
The Assembly report addresses claims from a 12th sexual harassment accuser not mentioned in the AG’s investigation, a civilian who says Cuomo made creepy come-ons to her before and after visiting her home.
Sherry Vill, a 55-year-old married mother of three, told Assembly investigators that Cuomo in 2017 “manhandled” and forcibly kissed her at her home, while on the tour of flood damage with staffers.
The Rochester-area resident described the then-governor “taking her hand and kissing her on both cheeks, without her consent.”
As Cuomo and his aides toured the damage to her home, Vill told probers she stayed behind, not wishing to come into further contact with him. But later, she said he “approached her, asked if there was anything else she wanted, and then leaned down and kissed her again — also without consent — while grabbing her hand.”
Vill said that after the visit, “she received a voicemail from someone in the Executive Chamber inviting her to attend an event at which the then-Governor would be present.” She told investigators that none of her family members, nor any neighbor who had met Cuomo during the same visit, received an invitation to the event.
The report notes: “Ms. Vill also later received signed photos from the then-Governor’s visit; neither her family members nor her neighbors received photographs either.”
The Assembly investigation also determined that “senior state officials” helped Cuomo on his pandemic memoir “American Crisis” during the “regular course of work,” — and not of their own accord during their free time, as Cuomo has claimed. The improper book duties were “expected to be completed” and were “not voluntary,” a top-level state official told investigators.
Despite giving Cuomo multiple opportunities to respond to the body’s findings, the Assembly report states that Cuomo and his lawyers did not comply with the Assembly’s Judiciary committee “in any meaningful way.”
“This has been a profoundly sad chapter in New York’s history,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said in a statement. “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 detailed report further concludes that:
- “Cuomo engaged in multiple instances of sexual harassment, including by creating a hostile work environment and engaging in sexual misconduct.”
- “The former governor utilized state resources and property, including work by Executive Chamber staff, to write, publish and promote his book — a project for which he was guaranteed at least $5.2 million in personal profit.”
- “Cuomo was not fully transparent regarding the number of nursing home residents who died as a result of COVID-19.”
The report explains that Cuomo was “given due process” during the investigation — an apparent attempt to fend off anticipated criticism similar to what James received from Cuomo and his personal lawyer, who claimed the AG’s report was politically motivated.
Cuomo and his allies have repeatedly attacked James’ report — doing so even before it was released — arguing her investigation was sullied by her preparations to launch a campaign for governor in 2022.
The Assembly report appears to bolster James’ investigators’ findings.
Assembly Judiciary Committee members reviewed copies of the 60-page report last week in Albany, taking shifts to read and take notes in the Legislative Office Building located next to the state Capitol building.
Lawmakers from both parties previously told The Post that the report affirms the findings of James’ investigation.
“It strongly corroborates and enhances the findings of the attorney general’s report that the governor was sexually harassing women in his office,” Assemblyman Phil Steck (D-Colonie) said Friday, adding the document reveals new information showing a “profoundly disturbing” pattern of conduct by Cuomo.
Assemblywoman Marybeth Walsh (R-Saratoga) said the findings “made my jaw drop.”
The Assembly’s analysis details allegations of sexual misconduct by Cuomo, with a focus on two accusers: Brittany Commisso, the state worker who filed a criminal complaint against Cuomo in Albany City Court claiming he groped her in the Executive Mansion in December 2020, and the unnamed state police investigator identified in James’ report as Trooper #1.
“The new evidence that we obtained — to which Ms. Commisso did not have access — corroborates Ms. Commisso’s recollection about the events of that date,” the report reads.
The report also notes that Cuomo “has not publicly denied that he engaged in the conduct described by Trooper #1,” which included touching her inappropriately on her back and stomach.
It’s also the first published report to assess the Cuomo administration’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes and undercounting of deaths in those facilities.
The report’s release follows nearly nine months of work compiled by investigators from Davis Polk & Wardwell — the white-shoe law firm hired by the state Assembly to handle the probe — after Heastie announced in March that the Legislature’s lower chamber would begin an impeachment inquiry.
Heastie called off the impeachment proceedings in August after Cuomo announced he would resign from office, but said the committee would publish a report detailing its findings.
Lawmakers who reviewed the report last week said if the chamber had continued its impeachment investigation, it would have voted to impeach Cuomo based on the results reviewed.
The Assembly is set to spend a maximum of $5.1 million on the effort, according to a contract with Davis Polk posted on state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s website.
Meanwhile, Cuomo and his former aides are still under investigation by the FBI and the Brooklyn US Attorney’s Office over the nursing home scandal as well as the book deal.
James’ office is also conducting a separate criminal investigation into the book contract following a referral from DiNapoli last spring.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics, the state’s ethics watchdog panel, recently revoked the approval of the book deal they granted during the summer of 2020, arguing Cuomo did not disclose to the commission ahead of time that state employees worked on the book ahead of publication.
Cuomo has to reapply for approval and his $5.1 million profit could be in jeopardy, as the panel has the power to fine the ex-pol or claw back the entire amount.