A former state attorney claims he was fired for cooperating with the sexual harassment investigation that forced the ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo from office – and also blames his ousting on ‘reverse sex discrimination’ after he joked about it with a colleague.
In a lawsuit alleging retaliation and discrimination against the state, Craig Herskowitz — who worked as an assistant attorney in the Manhattan governor’s office — said he ‘substantiated some of the allegations’ against Cuomo during an interview on April 1, 2021. with the state attorney general’s office. .
During the meeting, Herskowitz, 40, said he was represented by former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, who was hired to represent Cuomo employees in the prosecutor’s investigation. general.
Fishman “reported directly” to Cuomo’s acting attorney, Beth Garvey, and he allegedly “informed her of the nature of the plaintiff’s testimony” afterward, according to Herskowitz’s Manhattan Supreme Court filing.
After AG Letitia James released her bombshell report against Cuomo on August 3, accusing him of harassing 11 women, an unidentified executive aide joked with Herskowitz that she “felt left out because the governor didn’t tell her.” ‘never sexually harassed,’ the lawsuit states.
In response, Herskowitz used “the same tone” and told the woman she “should have provided the information because it would have cleared Governor Cuomo of the allegations against him,” according to court documents.
Three days later, Garvey called Herskowitz and told him to report to the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations in Albany, where he was asked about having received training against sexual harassment, which he does not did not remember, according to the lawsuit.
The GOER official who interviewed Herskowitz reportedly “appeared disinterested in her answers,” including her claims about “the context of the conversation” with the executive assistant.
On Aug. 12, Garvey called Herskowitz and fired him, saying the governor’s office had adopted “a “zero tolerance policy” toward sexual harassment in light of the allegations against Governor Cuomo and the Attorney General’s investigation,” according to his lawsuit. .
About two weeks later, Herskowitz received a box containing his belongings from his office, along with two “sticky notes” with messages that appeared to be written by the executive assistant, according to court documents.
One reportedly said, “Maybe you can go back to dating shows $$” and the other reportedly said, “You had him come,” with a smiley face.
In an interview at his Upper East Side apartment, Herskowitz told the Post that the reference to “dating shows” apparently involved a blind date he set up for a 2017 TV appearance on the Steve Harvey Show.
He also said the allegation “that I would sexually harass someone on the day the Attorney General’s report came out is ridiculous.”
Since his layoff, Herskowitz said, he has applied for jobs at various state agencies with no luck.
“I think I’m considered toxic because no one wants to be associated with someone accused of sexual harassment,” he said.
After six months out of a job, he said, he took a 20% pay cut from his former salary of $152,000 a year to work as a defense attorney at the Rosenberg law firm in Brooklyn.
“Only criminals are going to hire me now,” he said with a sad chuckle.
Herskowitz also has a profile posted on the Backstage.com website, where a photo shows him wearing a suit and tie, with what appears to be an official state pin on his lapel.
Although the webpage says it’s available to portray characters between the ages of 35 and 45, Herskowitz called it “something I did for fun – I never went to auditions or whatever. it would be”.
Herskowitz’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for alleged violations of state human rights law on the basis that he suffered retaliation against “for corroborating testimony regarding allegations of harassment sex” against Cuomo and because his dismissal amounted to “reverse sex discrimination” in the way the allegations against him were handled.
Governor Hochul’s office declined to comment, and neither Garvey, now a partner at law firm Greenberg & Traurig, nor Fishman immediately returned requests for comment.