Background and Executive Summary
Alyssa McGrath has been working as an executive assistant for Cuomo since May 2018. She is a longtime close friend of accuser #1, Brittany Commisso, before working in the Executive Chamber. Like Commisso, McGrath has a young child and recently went through a divorce. She is the only one backing up Commisso’s claims.
McGrath came out with her own story about 10 days after Commisso, giving an interview with the New York Times. In her interview, she alleges “unwanted attention” in the form of “ogling”, making remarks on her looks and suggestive comments. She found these interactions only troubling “after the fact”, once other women started to claim they were harassed by Cuomo.
None of the interactions described by her are relevant for an investigation into sexual harassment or even constitute inappropriate behavior. Based on the evidence, staggering discrepancies in her own testimony, and other testimonies her credibility is more than dubious.
The report concludes Cuomo sexually harassed McGrath based on the following claims:
- Cuomo called McGrath along with her friend Commisso “mingle mamas” and said he wanted to “go out” when they went out together.
- On several occasions he asked her about her personal life, especially her divorce (such as if her ex-husband paid child support, about the child custody arrangements, about her maiden vs her married name).
- On one occasion she said he appeared to stare down McGrath’s loose shirt and then commmented on her necklace which was inside.
Blouse and Necklace Incident (early 2019)
Also in early 2019, when she was sitting opposite him for dictation, she felt he was staring down her blouse. She describes her blouse as loosely hanging off her as she was bent forward. He then asked her about her necklace. It had an Italian horn attached, so Cuomo might have asked about it. This made her feel “uncomfortable”. McGrath claims she did not tell anyone about this except Commisso, because this also made her feel “uncomfortable”.
Governor Cuomo testified that he can’t remember the incident, but asking or commenting on her necklace (which was an Italian horn) would be consistent with his regular behavior. He doubts that “looking down her blouse” would be even possible from across his desk. Note: Based on the depth of the desk and the angle it seems indeed impossible to look into someone’s shirt unless the shirt is extremely low-cut (Photos). Also, according to Matt McGrath (see below), Alyssa was wearing low-cut shirts and removed photos of her in those from her social media after she made her claims. It is therefore absolutely possible that Governor Cuomo saw her Italian horn and asked her about it since they are both Italian without “staring down her blouse”.
Speaking Italian Incident (early 2019)
In early 2019, Cuomo asked McGrath if she spoke Italian. McGrath is of Italian heritage but doesn’t speak the language. He then said something in Italian that she didn’t understand and “grinned”. Her father, whom she asked, said that it had been a comment about her being beautiful. This made her feel “uncomfortable”.
There is no clarification of what Cuomo allegedly said, and if McGrath even passed it on correctly to her father. There is also no indication that her father was interviewed to obtain more information. Cuomo testified he remembers trying to speak to her in Italian, which is again completely consistent with his regular behavior but can’t remember details.
Holiday Party Photos (2019)
The report mentions that Cuomo placed his hands under their breasts for a photo at the annual holiday party. These are photos taken in 2019 during the holiday season AFTER McGrath claimed he paid her “unwanted attention” and made her feel “uncomfortable” with her comments in Italian and about her necklace. These pictures are used in the AG report as evidence of sexual harassment. As the pictures show, his hands are on their waists, which could be construed as “under their breasts” and are the normal hand placement when taking a posed photo. He is not touching their breasts or hips. According to a witness, she and her friend sought out Cuomo and were proud of these photos.
Mingle Mamas – Saratoga – Groin Stretches
Early 2020, when McGrath and Commisso assisted the governor in preparing the “State of the State” books, they told Cuomo about planning a trip to Florida in April. Cuomo testified that he called them “mingle mamas” in response to Commisso and McGrath saying that they were “single and ready to mingle”. The evidence in the AG report shows that they found this funny and were not uncomfortable. This is the evidence submitted for the “mingle mama” comment: A text message exchange between Commisso and McGrath (AG report Ex. 16, Screenshot): “You got a book too!” …. “You better have” … “Yes ma’am” … “What did he write lol mingle mama 🤣”
On one occasion, Cuomo made a “suggestive” comment to McGrath and Commisso when they were “doing a stretch that was intended to relieve muscle pain in the groin area”. The report does not specify what kind of groin stretches. It does not mention Cuomo’s comment or his testimony.
Also early 2020 or late 2019, when Commisso showed Cuomo a photograph on her Instagram of her and Ms. McGrath “going out” in Saratoga Springs, he allegedly said that he wished he could “go out” with them. Cuomo denied that in his testimony and said that he might have said he would love to go to Saratoga Springs.
When Commisso sent her selfie with Cuomo to McGrath on New Year’s Eve 2019, McGrath’s response was “Um where is my pic!! I’m officially jealous!!! I need to be photoshopped in to the right of him 🤣 Love this so much” Exhibit 25 – Screenshot. This does not support her claim of unwanted attention. More importantly, when asked during her testimony to explain this comment, she is caught in a lie that makes her and Commisso’s story extremely questionable and shady.
She first explains “I felt like I needed to say that considering she was with him and he wanted — he asked that it be sent to me.” When asked how she knew this, she responds “I knew after the fact when she told me.” (Commisso allegedly called her after she left the mansion). It is clear from the reaction of the investigator that they catch the lie, yet they did not follow up and moved on.
According to Matt McGrath’s testimony, she was passionate about working at the Executive Chamber, never complained about any aspect of work, told him only positive things (Screenshot). He paints a very different picture of Alyssa:
There was, you know, a lot of borderline adoration for Governor Cuomo. She often talked about how handsome she thought he was and how handsome his brother Chris was, referred to him as the Love Gov. At times, you know, when she was working front chair in the office she would often kind of brag about how she gets to pick out his suits and his ties and that type of stuff … she said nothing but positive things about the Governor, was defensive about him … but it’s not like it was a mutual adoration … I remember Alyssa, Lauren Grasso, Brittany Damino and this [name retracted] being in a group chat titled Cuomo’s Hoes … Alyssa’s relationship with the Governor was that of complete respect, borderline adoration, and borderline attraction by her own words to me … Never once was it ever said to me that oh, I feel very uncomfortable with him leering at me … quite the opposite … after Alyssa accused the Governor of staring down her shirt, she had to remove quite a few pictures from her own Instagram and Facebook … she had pictures all over her social media of low-cut shirts … there was the infamous picture that was the cover photo on her Facebook of her and Brittany with the Governor … That was on a — like a pinboard next to her bed … Right before this article came out, Alyssa called me and said, you know, there’s going to be something in the paper and I just need you to kind of have my back on this, and this was I kind of had to do it to keep my job … it was like, “Hey, I’m gonna say some stuff, you might know it’s BS, but can you keep your mouth shut?” And it wasn’t in exact words, that was my interpretation of it, knowing what I know.
Read more about Brittany Commisso and her claims HERE.