Home US Families of female aides defending Cuomo rake in millions lobbying him

Families of female aides defending Cuomo rake in millions lobbying him

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Two of Gov. Cuomo’s top female aides, who have covered for him during a snowballing sexual harassment scandal, have family ties to high-powered lobbyists whose firms rake in millions of dollars lobbying the governor and those in his orbit.

Cuomo’s powerful secretary, Melissa DeRosa, is married to Matthew Wing, his former press secretary who now serves as a top communications exec for Uber. Her father, Giorgio DeRosa, is a partner and chief Albany lobbyist for the influential Bolton St. Johns firm. Brother Joseph and sister Jessica also work at the firm.

Chief of staff Jill DesRosiers, meanwhile, is life partner of Harry Giannoulis, president and co-founder of the Parkside Group — another Empire State lobbying behemoth.

“People are married to, and the children of, top lobbyists. So the potential for conflicts of interest abound,” John Kaehny of Reinvent Albany told The Post. “The sexual harassment accusations are really just a facet of an overall abuse of power. It’s just part of it.”

Melissa DeRosa's father Giorgio DeRosa, is a partner and chief Albany lobbyist for the influential Bolton St. Johns firm. Brother Joseph and sister Jessica also work at the firm.
Melissa DeRosa’s father Giorgio DeRosa, is a partner and chief Albany lobbyist for the influential Bolton St. Johns firm. Brother Joseph and sister Jessica also work at the firm.
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In 2019 and 2020, Uber spent more than $1.1 million lobbying in New York, including “direct” talks with Cuomo, according to filings with the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE).

Giannoulis’ Parkside Group likewise cashed in on their primo connections inside the executive mansion. Fanduel, a sports betting company, dropped at least $52,500 in 2020 for an exhaustive slate of lobbying services, which included “direct lobbying” of Cuomo’s office and his executive chamber.

Another A-list client, the energy investment firm LS Power Associates, cut Parkside a $75,000 check to directly lobby Cuomo’s executive council and his office. Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association dropped $35,850 and $32,700 respectively for access to the governor’s inner circle.

Cuomo Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers and her husband/partner Harry Giannoulis, co-owner of The Parkside Group
Cuomo Chief of Staff Jill DesRosiers and her partner Harry Giannoulis, co-owner of The Parkside Group.
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“Nobody at the Parkside Group has lobbied Jill DesRosiers and Harry Giannoulis doesn’t lobby anybody.  It’s as simple as that,” said Tim Costa, a spokesman for the firm.

Bolton St. Johns similarly cleaned up while repping some of America’s most powerful corporations in Albany. The Durst Organization paid $60,000; United Airlines $30,000, and Pfizer $33,000 to lobby Cuomo’s office.

“Bolton St. Johns has been in business for over 25 years and we have always conducted our affairs with the highest ethical conduct and with the utmost transparency,” a spokesperson told The Post.

Melissa DeRosa is married to Uber lobbyist Matt Wing and is the daughter of Bolton St. John partner Giorgio DeRosa.
Melissa DeRosa is married to Uber lobbyist Matt Wing and is the daughter of Bolton St. John partner Giorgio DeRosa.
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As parents, siblings and partners got rich, both DeRosa and DesRosiers went all out to protect their boss. DesRosiers was named in the allegation against Cuomo by former aide Charlotte Bennett, who said the powerful chief of staff reassigned her to a new job after the governor had asked whether she ever had sex with older men and volunteered to Bennett that he was open to relationships with women in their 20s. DesRosiers also popped up in an account from alleged Cuomo victim Lindsey Boylan, who accused her of “keeping tabs on my whereabouts” on behalf of the governor.

DeRosa came to Cuomo’s defense again on Wednesday as the governor offered a groveling apology for his past misdeeds.

“We’ve seen more women rise to [the] highest levels, in terms of commissioners and senior staff levels,” she said. “I don’t think that this diminishes any of that, and I look forward to continuing the work that we’re doing in order to continue the women’s agenda and strengthen women’s rights for all New Yorkers.”

In a statement, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi — one of the governor’s chief male defenders — dismissed the criticism as “sexist and offensive.” He refused to speak about his boss’ potential conflicts of interests.

“Melissa is proactively recused on any specific matters that members of her family are involved with and her husband has never lobbied state government, nor is he registered to do so.  Jill has no involvement in anything that Parkside lobbies on.  They have taken appropriate action to avoid conflicts and trying to define two of the highest ranking women in New York State government by their relationships and their family is something that never would be done to a male official,” he told The Post.

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