The woman whose accusations forced the resignation of a high-ranking appointee of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has identified herself and accused the governor of repeatedly covering up the “horrifying acts” of his friend, William “Sam” Hoyt.
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Lisa Marie Cater revealed herself Saturday in a Manhattan federal court lawsuit. She alleges that Hoyt, the former Empire State Development Corp. regional president, got her a job at a DMV office, which he took advantage of to “manipulate, sexually harass and sexually assault” her.
The lawsuit names Hoyt and Cuomo as defendants and says Cuomo’s office reacted with “deliberate indifference” on six occasions when Cater asked for help with the situation.
The suit claims the “barrage” of “unwanted kisses, crotch-grabbing, stalking, and daily calls, emails and sexts continued for a year,” the New York Post reported, until Cater found herself on “the brink of a nervous breakdown,” according to court papers.
Cuomo’s office issued a statement denying that they ignored Cater’s complaints.
“When Ms. Cater reported a complaint regarding Mr. Hoyt … it was immediately referred to the State Employee Relations Office for an investigation,” Alphonso David, Cuomo’s lawyer, told the Post. “At the same time Mr. Hoyt was instructed to have no further interaction with the complainant and to cooperate fully with the investigation.”
Cater, 51, and Hoyt, 55, first met at a 2008 fundraiser when Hoyt, a Buffalo,N.Y., Democrat, was a state assemblyman. Seven years later, Cater was facing eviction after being a victim of domestic abuse. She looked to local public officials, including Hoyt, for assistance in her time of need, the Post reported.
At that point, Hoyt began emailing her about jobs and apartments. Some of Hoyt’s communications became flirtatious, the suit alleges, and “made it a point to advise [Cater] of his powerful position with the state and closeness to the governor and that he was in charge of patronage positions.”
He helped her get an apartment, and a few months later, early in 2016, he got her hired to a non-union secretary job with a $30,000 salary in a mostly unionized DMV office in Erie County, she said.
“He hung this job over my head,” Cater told The Post in her first on-the-record interview. “I felt like a possession of his.”
From there, Cater alleges Hoyt committed almost non-stop harassment. On one occasion, he rang her doorbell and then “groped and … kissed” her, leaving her “in state of shock,” according to court papers. Cater was afraid of losing her job and ability to support herself, so she adopted a “go along to get along disposition,” the Post reported.
Cater alleges in the suit that she would receive “harassing calls, texts and emails” from Hoyt from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and that in one text, Hoyt sent a nude photo and asked, “Do you think I look tan?” Cater “began to shake uncontrollably” after receiving it, the suit says.
Like Cuomo, Hoyt denies Cater’s allegations, and his attorney has said his client will defend himself in court. Cater’s suit offers no specific amount she is seeking in damages.