New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and former Empire State Development Corp. regional president Sam Hoyt have been named in a sexual harassment lawsuit. The suit accuses Cuomo of ignoring sexual abuse by Hoyt.
Lisa Marie Cater filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Saturday accusing Cuomo of ignoring Hoyt’s “horrific acts” against her, according to the New York Post. Hoyt, who Cater says got her a job at an upstate DMV office and then used that job to “manipulate, sexually harass and sexually assault” her.
Cater contends in her suit that she contacted Cuomo’s office at least six times to report the sexual abuse, yet his office did nothing.
The sexual abuse included unwanted kisses, stalking, sexts, crotch-grabs, as well as daily calls, emails and texts, according to Cater’s suit.
Eventually, after months of harassment, Hoyt told Cater he had talked with Cuomo about the incident and said Cuomo instructed him to “make this go away.” Cater said she was later paid $50,000 in “hush money,” which demanded Cater’s silence. Cater signed a confidentiality agreement in Oct. 2016, but she continued to try and contact Cuomo, the Post reported. Cater said she was later contacted by an attorney from the governor’s office who offered her a bribe to stay quiet.
Hoyt resigned on Oct. 30 this year amid a state investigation. But he was praised by New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul on his way out. News of the sexual abuse charges against Hoyt were made public on Oct. 31, but he denied the allegations.
Cater said she broke the confidentiality agreement when she saw “Cuomo officials tossing public bouquets at a man who had ruined her life,” according to the Post. Then, on Saturday, Cater went public with her identity.
How did Cuomo’s office respond?
Alphonso David, Cuomo’s counsel, said: “When Ms. Cater reported a complaint regarding Mr. Hoyt…it was immediately referred to the State Employee Relations Office for an investigation. At the same time Mr. Hoyt was instructed to have no further interaction with the complainant and to cooperate fully with the investigation.”
David also denied that anyone in the governor’s office ordered Hoyt to “make this go away.”
“[It] is contrary to demonstrable facts, including the three separate investigations launched into the initial complaint,” he said, adding that no one in the governor’s office offered Cater a bribe, either.
“The facts alleged in this complaint regarding Mr. Hoyt were not provided to state investigators and in many cases contradict the public allegations made in the last several weeks. The state launched 3 separate investigations into this matter, and any assertion to the contrary is patently and demonstrably false, and as such, we expect this matter to be summarily dismissed,” David said.
Hoyt has also denied the allegations and will defend himself.
What is Cater seeking?
According to the Post, Cater’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Editor’s note: The story has been updated to clarify that Gov. Cuomo is not the only person named in the suit.