Top Cuomo Aide at the Center of the Nursing Home Scandal Is Being Looked at for a New Reason

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Posted: Mar 27, 2021 10:15 AM
Top Cuomo Aide at the Center of the Nursing Home Scandal Is Being Looked at for a New Reason

Source: Kevin P. Coughlin/ Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP

New York Attorney General Letitia James' (D) office has subpoenaed members of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) administration. James is asking Cuomo staffers to turn over documents as part of her office's investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against the governor. 

One of the main people on James' radar is Melissa DeRosa, the governor's secretary, who also played a major role in the administration's Wuhan coronavirus response. DeRosa is at the center of a federal investigation over the Cuomo administration's COVID response, particularly relating to the governor's nursing home scandal and the altered nursing home death reports, the Wall Street Journal reported. She was the top Cuomo staffer in the meeting with state legislators and said she feared the Trump administration would politicize the true nursing home death numbers if they were made public.

DeRosa's name came up in the investigation because of her close ties to Cuomo. Multiple people told the WSJ that DeRosa has "regularly berated" a number of "officials, lawmakers and journalists in profanity-laced phone calls and text messages when they have crossed the governor."

When Cuomo's first accuser, Lindsey Boylan, came forward in December, DeRosa was reportedly part of a team of aides who contacted former staffers to ask about Boylan. She was also part of a circle of top aides who wrote a letter about Boylan's personnel records, something Boylan says could be inauthentic and part of a larger "effort to smear her."

The lawyer representing the Cuomo administration in the sexual harassment scandal, Paul Fishman, shrugged off the subpoena as standard practice. 

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“No one should be surprised that the AG’s office is issuing requests for documents and interviewing witnesses, including many who work for the governor," Fishman told the WSJ. "That happens in every investigation, and it’s wildly premature to speculate what it means. Good, thorough, and fair investigations take time.”

So far, eight women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Despite mounting calls for his resignation, Cuomo has repeatedly refused to resign.