Cuomo’s Top Aide Melissa DeRosa resigns as Gov. faces criminal complaint and more


Late Sunday, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s loyal aide Melissa DeRosa tendered her resignation, according to the New York Times. The top and trusted strategist was found to have led retaliatory efforts against a woman who had publicly spoken against the governor’s alleged behavior of sexual harassment. DeRosa was also involved in the alleged coverup of nursing home deaths that is being investigated by federal authorities as well as the New York State Assembly.


The 38-year-old strategist has been a part of the Cuomo administration from 2013. She began her career as communications director. In 2015, she was promoted to the post of chief of staff. In 2017, she became secretary to Gov. Cuomo. She has been one of the youngest ever, to hold this position.


The report released by the Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday mentioned DeRosa’s role in enabling a toxic work environment. She had personally been involved in mounting attacks against Lindsey Boylan. Boylan is a former economic development official. She had publicly accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in December 2021.


When Boyal had posted against the Governor on Twitter, DeRosa led an effort among state officials and outside allies to discredit her. Personal, sensitive information was leaked. DeRosa also asked a former staff member to call a female staff member who was part of Cuomo’s team as she had lent support to  Boylan on Twitter. The former staffer was told to get information from the current staff member and to record the conversation.


She had also helped draft, review and circulate a disparaging letter which was an attempt of character assassination of Boylan. The letter was not published.


DeRosa was mentioned almost 200 times in the 165-page report submitted by the attorney general. However, in one instance, it was mentioned that she had been upset when a 26-year-old former aide Charlotte Bennet said that Cuomo had asked her if she was monogamous and if she had sex with older men. Ms. DeRosa had confronted the governor and had asked him how he had put himself in such a situation and had such a conversation. After this incident, a new policy was initiated which prevented the Governor from being left alone with young women to allegedly protect him from allegations of harassment.


Melissa DeRosa helped bring about the $15 minimum wage in New York. She chaired the New York State Council on Women. She was a strong supporter on women’s reproductive issues.


DeRosa’s recent resignation could have an effect on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s defense as he faces allegations of misconduct from at least 11 women. The Times has contacted both DeRosa and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s representative for comment but has received no response to date.

Image Dana Robinson

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