November 22, 2021 4:44pm
Updated: November 22, 2021 6:02pm
A total of 12 women have allegedly been sexually harassed by former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to a report from the New York state legislature.
Attorney General Letitia James's Aug. 3 report listed 11 women, but a separate investigation from the New York Assembly's Judiciary Committee included allegations from Sherry Vill, a businesswoman whose home Cuomo and others visited as they toured flood damage in the Rochester area in 2017.
Vill described how she felt about Cuomo's conduct towards her as "uncomfortable," according to the committee's report released Monday.
When she asked Cuomo about the state of her home, he took her hand and kissed her on both cheeks without her consent.
"Ms. Vill said that, as the group was walking out of the house, the then-Governor turned around and told Ms. Vill she was beautiful. ... According to Ms. Vill, when the group returned, the then-Governor 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," the report reads.
Afterwards, Vill received signed photos from the visit and a voicemail from someone in the Executive Chamber who invited her to attend an event with the then-governor. None of Vill's family members or neighbors who met with Cuomo during that visit received the same gestures.
Although Cuomo "has challenged the allegations of these twelve women in numerous ways," the 63-page report concluded that there was "overwhelming evidence of his misconduct," which include interviews, emails, text messages, photographs, phone call recordings, and other materials.
The report also found that Cuomo had misused state resources in the promotion of his book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic.
"We have reviewed evidence demonstrating that ... the former Governor utilized the time of multiple state employees, as well as his own, to further his personal gain during a global pandemic — a time during which the former Governor touted the 'around-the-clock' state response to the crisis," according to the report, noting Cuomo "tried to downplay the extent of his earnings" although he "profited substantially from the Book."
Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said Monday that "Any report that uses the Attorney General's politically biased investigation is going to be equally flawed," the Washington Examiner reported.
"The Assembly report is hypocritical, revisionist, and damns themselves as the Assembly effectively forces employees to volunteer on their political partisan campaigns as standard practice and if they want to debate it we welcome it," Azzopardi said. "Let them start by disclosing which staffers also do political work. Will the Judiciary committee members that raised the issue disclose their staff members who volunteer to work on their campaigns and if not why not?"
On Tuesday, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics decided in a 12-1 vote to rescind its 2020 agreement that allowed Cuomo to receive an estimated $5.1 million from his book deal, which was a reversal of two previous votes that had permitted the authorization of his book deal, according to the news outlet. The commission also approved an investigation into its approval of the former governor's book deal, which had raised concerns among ethics watchdogs despite his assurances that his book was not promoted with the misuse of state resources.