October 27, 2021

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How Cuomo’s Team Tried to Tarnish One of His Accusers – The New York Times

2 min read

Shortly after Ms. Boylan had first accused Mr. Cuomo, several media organizations published details of her personnel records that were released by the Cuomo administration, outlining unflattering accounts of Ms. Boylan’s past actions as a boss and recommendations of disciplinary action against her.

For supporters of Mr. Cuomo, who has denied any wrongdoing, the documents were exculpatory, painting a picture of a disgruntled employee with an ax to grind.

Beth Garvey, the acting counsel to Mr. Cuomo, defended the release of Ms. Boylan’s records, saying on Tuesday that, with certain exceptions, “it is within a government entity’s discretion to share redacted employment records, including in instances when members of the media ask for such public information and when it is for the purpose of correcting inaccurate or misleading statements.”

She, too, cited the attorney general’s investigation and refrained from additional comment.

The speed at which the documents were provided was exceptional, particularly considering that statehouse reporters in Albany and elsewhere are accustomed to waiting for months, if not years, for access to public records through the state’s Freedom of Information Law.

“The administration has a well-documented record to being pretty closed on FOIL,” said Blair Horner, the executive director of the New York Public Interest Research Group, noting efforts to stymie reporters looking into Joseph Percoco, a close aide of Mr. Cuomo’s who was convicted of federal corruption charges in 2018. “There’s considerable and consistent examples of them making it extremely difficult to get records.”

Lawyers who work on sexual harassment said that an employee’s work history was immaterial to whether or not they can claim harassment.

“There’s not a defense to harassment that the person was a bad employee,” said Elizabeth Kristen, a senior staff attorney with Legal Aid at Work in San Francisco, adding, “It’s not even relevant. Maybe she was the worst employee in the world, but she could still be harassed.”

Luis Ferré-Sadurní contributed reporting.

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