Hordes of Cuomo staff left the ship before resigning in disgrace
Like rats in a sinking ship, dozens of top Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office fled their jobs in the months leading up to his resignation amid a sexual harassment scandal, payroll records obtained show by The Post.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul will replace the disgraced Cuomo at midnight Tuesday and it looks like she has plenty of vacancies to fill.
Thirty-three staff members assigned to Cuomo’s Close-knit Executive Chamber resigned or were reassigned from Jan. 1 to Aug. 11 of this year, according to staff records kept by the Office of State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli.
“Thirty-three people leaving the executive chamber is a high number,” said Rob Cole, who served as senior adviser to former three-term governor George Pataki.
“There are probably many more Cuomo assistants assigned to other state agencies who have also left,” he said.
While the names of some of the deceased are known to the public, the scale of the exodus is striking.
Records show Cuomo leaned on an old man who worked for his father, the late three-term Governor Mario Cuomo, former FBI agent Joseph Spinelli.
Cuomo, out of the blue last year, hired Spinelli, who was the Inspector General of Cuomo State, as assistant secretary and senior advisor with an annual salary of $ 188,700, according to payroll records. .
Spinelli, according to his LinkedIn page, worked for the governor from March 2020 when the pandemic struck until May 2021.
“It is unusual not to announce the hiring of a staff member with such a high salary,” said a former Cuomo official who was unfamiliar with Spinelli’s work during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic .
Another source said Spinelli had been brought in to work on public safety issues.
The National Child and Family Services Office in 2017 appointed Kroll Associates and Spinelli to investigate the city’s child welfare agency handling of child abuse cases.
Other departures in recent months include General Counsel Kimuki Gibson, who earned $ 204,000, and Assistant Counsel Rose Nadine Fontaine, who was paid $ 176,851.
Gibson had been Cuomo’s chief attorney for two years, overseeing legislation and all legal matters involving the executive chamber and government staff.
She had replaced Alphonso David, who now heads the Human Rights Campaign and whose name appeared in the investigative report by state attorney general Letitia James, who found Cuomo had harassed 11 women, including members current and former staff. David, like Cuomo, has denied any wrongdoing.
Another key staff member, Max Orenstein – who earned $ 156,060 as a creative director – left in April. He worked on the COVID-19 mask TV ad campaign last year.
Orenstein is now Director of Communications at B’nai Jeshurun.
Two other senior officials have left the executive chamber for soft landings in other state entities.
Joseph Rabito, the governor’s deputy executive secretary at $ 194,158, now heads the Environmental Facilities Corporation. Rabito held several executive positions under Cuomo, overseeing services and policy relating to transportation, public safety, and financial services.
John Maggiore, who earned $ 176,868 as an assistant secretary and senior advisor, left in June when Cuomo appointed him to sit on the Civil Service Commission. He helped oversee the economic development issues of the upstate.
At least four members of the press service, including former communications director Peter Ajemian, have resigned or been reassigned. He was paid $ 164,383.
Ajemenian was part of the Governor’s advisory team involved in “continuous and regular discussions on how to respond to [sexual harassment] public allegations “that have been made against Cuomo, according to the 168-page attorney general report.
Others who have left include Marquita Sanders, the governor’s $ 173,400 assistant secretary who is now director of the State Department of Financial Services; Miriam Judlow, executive assistant, $ 163,200; and senior speechwriter Daneil Kadishon, who earned $ 132,600 and is now a speechwriter with the US Department of Transportation.
The Post reported on Sunday that Cuomo is grappling Hochul with a staffing crisis at the state’s health department after hordes of top staff left amid the relentless coronavirus pandemic and controversies surrounding the policies of administration on nursing homes.
Cuomo’s office made no immediate comment.