How Cuomo’s former top aide Melissa DeRosa celebrated her birthday weeks before announced divorce

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Disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa posted a single selfie to ring in her 39th birthday weeks before she announced her divorce and months after quitting her post in the Cuomo administration because she was tired of defending the sex pest’s scandals. 

DeRosa – who was dubbed a ‘mean girl’ by Cuomo – confirmed her split from her husband earlier this week after a trying year in which she attempted to defend the ousted three-term governor from sexual harassment allegations and helped cover up the true death toll at New York nursing homes. 

However, DeRosa’s closeness to her 63-year-old boss always seemed apparent at an intimate dinner in 2016 that fueled rumors of a possible deeper connection – less than two weeks after she tied the not.

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Photos obtained by DailyMail.com showed the couple seated closely in a booth at Manhattan’s Knickerbocker Bar & Grill on September 8, 2016, where DeRosa looked adoringly at her boss and flashed her brand-new wedding ring.

Photos taken in September 2016 showed Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide DeRosa while at dinner Knickerbocker Bar and Grill in lower Manhattan

Photos taken in September 2016 showed Cuomo, 63, getting cozy with his closest aide DeRosa while at dinner Knickerbocker Bar and Grill in lower Manhattan

Cuomo, who was still living with his then-girlfriend and celebrity chef Sandra Lee, appeared close to DeRoa during an intimate dinner just 12 days after her marriage

Cuomo, who was still living with his then-girlfriend and celebrity chef Sandra Lee, appeared close to DeRoa during an intimate dinner just 12 days after her marriage 

Her marriage to Uber executive Matthew Wing has fallen apart just five years later. 

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But the estranged couple appear to have been living separate lives leading up to the announcement. Last month, DeRosa rang in her birthday with a sexy selfie posted from her sister’s house in Cape Cod, sources told the New York Post.      

She posted a series of photos with one captioned ‘Ok 39, let’s do this.’

The other photos from the coastal home show Cuomo’s former secretary spending some presumably much-needed time with family, including her sister Jessica Davos and two nieces.

The images of her in the sunshine and of Cape Cod’s calm waters and rocky shorelines show a lifestyle that appears to be a ways away from the scandal that surrounded the Cuomo administration.  

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DeRosa said she and Wing are planning to get a divorce, though they have yet to start the filing in New York state. 

The news comes at the same time the couple put their $2.59million Brooklyn Heights home up for sale after living apart for a year following what she called an ’emotionally and mentally trying’ two years.

DeRosa rang in her birthday with a sexy selfie she posted to Twitter from Cape Cod captioned: 'Ok 39, let's do this'  a month after resigning from her position as former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's secretary and a month before announcing her divorce from her husband of five years

DeRosa rang in her birthday with a sexy selfie she posted to Twitter from Cape Cod captioned: ‘Ok 39, let’s do this’  a month after resigning from her position as former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s secretary and a month before announcing her divorce from her husband of five years 

DeRosa served as Secretary to the Governor of the State of New York - the most powerful appointed official in the state. She was by Cuomo's side at virtually all his daily press conferences on the Covid-19 pandemic that captured the nation's attention

DeRosa served as Secretary to the Governor of the State of New York – the most powerful appointed official in the state. She was by Cuomo’s side at virtually all his daily press conferences on the Covid-19 pandemic that captured the nation’s attention

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Former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's former aide and fiercest defender Melissa DeRosa has confirmed her split from her Uber executive husband Matthew Wing (pictured together)

Former NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s former aide and fiercest defender Melissa DeRosa has confirmed her split from her Uber executive husband Matthew Wing (pictured together left and right) after five years of marriage as the pair’s swanky NYC apartment hits the market for $2.59million 

DeRosa (left with sister Jessica Davos) 'has been staying at her sister's house in Cape Cod' since resigning from her position in August

A series of photos she posted from the coastal home show the former secretary spending some presumably much-needed time with family, including her sister Jessica Davos and two nieces

DeRosa ‘has been staying at her sister’s house in Cape Cod’ since resigning from her position in August. A series of photos she posted from the coastal home show the former secretary spending some presumably much-needed time with family, including her sister Jessica Davos (left) and two nieces (right)

DeRosa has reportedly been looking to move back to Manhattan after a 'never ending summer' in Cape Cod and has her eye on the Greenwich Village neighborhood

DeRosa has reportedly been looking to move back to Manhattan after a ‘never ending summer’ in Cape Cod and has her eye on the Greenwich Village neighborhood

Yet as the summer comes to an end DeRosa has reportedly been looking to move back to Manhattan and has her eye on New York’s Greenwich Village after an eventful last few years.

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The pair met in 2013 while working in Cuomo’s communications office. She rose to become Cuomo’s most trusted aide and was a fixture at his Emmy-winning daily Covid-19 press briefings.

But behind the scenes, she worked to to limit the damage of sexual harassment allegations by 11 women against the three-term governor, according to a report published by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

In efforts to diffuse another scandal, she later admitted Cuomo’s administration had downplayed the number of nursing home Covid deaths.  

Despite the photos of the pair cozied up at dinner and the intense pressures of scandal, DeRosa and her soon-to-be ex-husband are blaming Covid for the breakdown of their marriage, the Post reported. 

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‘They simply grew apart, and they have been living apart for a year,’ a friend told the Post. 

‘Their marriage broke down over time, and it was exacerbated during Covid, when they wound up in separate places. … Melissa spent time in Albany, and Matt works for Uber and spent some time in San Francisco,’ the source added. 

On August 8 – less than a week after James’s damning report – DeRosa resigned from her $200,000-plus-a-year post as Cuomo’s most powerful aide, saying ‘the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying’. 

A day later she made a hush-hush, dressed-down visit to the New York Governor’s mansion in the hours between her resignation and his. Cuomo’s office director Stephanie Benton picked DeRosa up from her parents’ home and drove her to the mansion, where she stayed for four hours.

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Sources said DeRosa quit because she realized the governor – who had previously steadfastly refused to resign – had no future in the job following the sex pest scandal. She was reportedly no longer willing to stand up for him in public.

‘It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve the people of New York for the past 10 years,’ DeRosa said in a statement. 

‘New Yorkers’ resilience, strength and optimism through the most difficult times has inspired me every day… I am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with such talented and committed colleagues,’ she added.

Tellingly, DeRosa’s statement did not make a single reference to Cuomo in her resignation statement.

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Following their split the pair has put their three-bedroom, two-bathroom Brooklyn Heights duplex on the market for $2.59million

Following their split the pair has put their three-bedroom, two-bathroom Brooklyn Heights duplex on the market for $2.59million

The couple purchased the Brooklyn Heights home for $2.2million shortly after marrying in 2016

The couple purchased the Brooklyn Heights home for $2.2million shortly after marrying in 2016

'The Brooklyn house was often empty. But they remain friends,' a source said of the pair's Brooklyn home, which is now up for grabs

‘The Brooklyn house was often empty. But they remain friends,’ a source said of the pair’s Brooklyn home, which is now up for grabs

DeRosa and her husband reportedly did not spend any time in their Brooklyn duplex (pictured)

DeRosa and her husband reportedly did not spend any time in their Brooklyn duplex (pictured)

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Despite the intense pressures of scandal, DeRosa and her soon-to-be ex-husband are blaming Covid for the breakdown of their marriage but said in a joint statement: 'Despite the fact that this chapter in our lives is ending, we are and always will be very close friends'

Despite the intense pressures of scandal, DeRosa and her soon-to-be ex-husband are blaming Covid for the breakdown of their marriage but said in a joint statement: ‘Despite the fact that this chapter in our lives is ending, we are and always will be very close friends’

Cuomo resigned in New York City two weeks later and DeRosa, in her final act of loyalty, was seen leaving with Cuomo and his two daughters.

Months later DeRosa and Wing confirmed rumors of their divorce in a joint statement that read: ‘Despite the fact that this chapter in our lives is ending, we are and always will be very close friends.’

Following their split the pair has put their three-bedroom, two-bathroom Brooklyn Heights duplex on the market for $2.59million, which they purchased for $2.2million shortly after marrying in 2016, the Post reported. 

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‘The Brooklyn house was often empty. But they remain friends,’ a source told the Post. 

The couple began discussing divorce in the late spring after ‘they decided that the marriage had run its course,’ and they worked out an agreement over the summer. There are currently no online court records indicating a divorce filing in New York state, the Post reported. 

In the meantime the couple is still living apart and DeRosa appears to be spending lots of time with family while cooped up at her sister’s Cape Cod home. It’s unclear where Wing has been living or if he is still in California. 

Yet the couple has been sure to lawyer up. DeRosa is being represented by famed lawyer Robert S Cohen – who has represented Melinda Gates – and Wing is being represented by lawyer Sheila Riesel – who has appeared before the US Supreme Court three times, the Post reported. 

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DailyMail.com spotted a dressed down Melissa DeRosa visiting the Governor's mansion less than 24 hours after she quit as Cuomo's top aide

DailyMail.com spotted a dressed down Melissa DeRosa visiting the Governor’s mansion less than 24 hours after she quit as Cuomo’s top aide 

A day after DeRosa's resignation Cuomo was joined by two of his daughters Michaela, 23, and Mariah, 26 (center), and  DeRosa (far left)

A day after DeRosa’s resignation Cuomo was joined by two of his daughters Michaela, 23, and Mariah, 26 (center), and  DeRosa (far left)

The news of the divorce comes after DeRosa’s former boss resigned from office in August following revelations about his alleged sexual harassment and criticism about the way he insisted – in the early months of the pandemic – that Covid-positive nursing home residents must be allowed to return to the homes once they had recovered. 

DeRosa admits to covering up Cuomo’s darkest Covid secrets

In a remarkable confession made during a conference call with New York state Democrats, DeRosa admitted that the Cuomo administration his damning information about deaths among nursing home patients, amid fears that it would be used against them in an investigation.

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DeRosa revealed that officials ‘froze’ in August when former President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) asked for the data, before rebuffing the request.

Cuomo’s top aide told lawmakers: ‘We were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice, or what we give to you guys, what we start saying, was going to be used against us while we weren’t sure if there was going to be an investigation.’ 

The data remained secret for months until January, when New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office published a bombshell report saying that the state had undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by as much as 50 percent. 

It forced New York State’s Department of Health to reveal that the true death toll among nursing home residents was 12,743, rather than the previously acknowledged 8,711. New York had only counted residents who died in nursing homes, leaving out 4,000 residents who were taken to hospital and died there. 

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DeRosa’s shocking admission came shortly before the Associated Press revealed that more than 9,000 patients were sent back to nursing homes – a figure 40 percent higher than official data.

Neither Cuomo nor his office have issued a statement acknowledging DeRosa’s bombshell admission, despite calls from local lawmakers for a public apology.

DeRosa quit less than a week after New York Attorney General Letitia James — like Cuomo, a Democrat — issued a damning 168-page report detailing the governor’s abusive behavior, involving 11 women. 

Cuomo has strongly denied that he ever touched anyone inappropriately but he acknowledged hugging and kissing female aides and other women and has painted James’s report as politically motivated. 

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James is likely to run for governor in 2022.

Meanwhile, DeRosa was uniquely unpopular among Cuomo’s close aides. ‘The only person with more enemies than Andy is Melissa,’ one source close to the governor told the New York Post.

Another said: ‘She is a ruthless, heartless, evil human being who will rip your heart out in order to get what she wants.’ 

Earlier this year, when DailyMail.com published exclusive pictures of Cuomo and DeRosa getting cozy as they dined at the Knickerbocker Bar and Grill in Manhattan, Cuomo was still living with his then-girlfriend and celebrity chef Sandra Lee.

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They showed him leaning in close to DeRosa after a third member of their party had left.

‘When they sat back down again, it was different body language,’ said one witness, describing the time after the third diner had left.

‘Before, it was a very formal business dinner and then all of a sudden they got much closer, she turned toward him and her legs were very close to his under the table.

‘He was quite brazen about it. It was all in public view in a restaurant,’ a second witness said.

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At the time DeRosa angrily denied she had anything more than a professional relationship with Cuomo.

‘There have been misogynistic rumors in Albany and in government for years but I never thought I’d have to respond to them in the press,’ she said in a statement.

‘The Governor and I have never had an intimate relationship. The Governor and I have been close friends and colleagues for over ten years – we’ve had countless meals together and suggestions or innuendo around that is inappropriate, offensive and wrong.’  

DeRosa was seen with Cuomo last May (pictured). She reportedly felt he had no path to remain in office after New York General Attorney Letitia James's damaging report concluded he sexually harassed 11 women

DeRosa was seen with Cuomo last May (pictured). She reportedly felt he had no path to remain in office after New York General Attorney Letitia James’s damaging report concluded he sexually harassed 11 women

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‘She’ll rip your heart out’: How DeRosa worked to limit allegations by Cuomo’s sexual assault accusers

New York General Attorney Letitia James published a bombshell report in August detailing how DeRosa worked to discredit several of the women who accused the former governor of sexual assault.

DeRosa (pictured), the secretary to the governor, fiercely defended Cuomo as 11 women accused the former governor of sexual harassment

DeRosa (pictured), the secretary to the governor, fiercely defended Cuomo as 11 women accused the former governor of sexual harassment

The document concluded that Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and DeRosa immediately felt the heat from the report as she became a target of criticism. Former colleagues ripped her as a ‘ruthless, heartless, evil human being’. 

In the spring, before James published the 168-page document, DeRosa played a key role in limiting the damage of the sexual assault allegations.

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James revealed that she and other top aides dragged their feet when Charlotte Bennett, a 25-year-old health policy adviser, reported Cuomo’s deeply uncomfortable probing of her sexual history and previous abuse. Instead they should immediately, under state law, have passed Bennett’s complaints to the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations.

After Bennett came forward with her allegations, the Executive Chamber instituted ‘changes in staffing’ so that ‘they would avoid situations where the Governor might be seen as being in a compromising situation with any woman’. 

The former Executive Chamber said of DeRosa:  ‘She doesn’t have time for niceties (and) will rip your heart out in order to get what she wants.’ 

DeRosa was reportedly furious with Cuomo for his behavior towards Bennett. While at a traffic light DeRosa berated her boss, saying: ‘I can’t believe that this happened. I can’t believe you put yourself in a situation where you would be having any version of this conversation,’ before getting out of the stopped car.   

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Charlotte Bennett (left), a 25-year-old health policy adviser, reported Cuomo's deeply uncomfortable probing of her sexual history and previous abuse but DeRosa and her team dragged their feet instead of immediately passing Bennett's complaints to the Governor's Office of Employee Relations

Charlotte Bennett (left), a 25-year-old health policy adviser, reported Cuomo’s deeply uncomfortable probing of her sexual history and previous abuse but DeRosa and her team dragged their feet instead of immediately passing Bennett’s complaints to the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations

In 2020 Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development official, began tweeting allusion to harassment from the sex pest. Yet she would not make a full, public allegation until March of this year, which is when DeRosa released Boylan’s personnel record to certain media outlets.

DeRosa even admitted that she made the move to discredit Boylan when speaking to James’s team, and said that she made the decision because Boylan’s tweets about the governor – including that he was ‘one of the biggest abusers of all time’ – became ‘more and more escalating,’ the report stated.

Former aide Josh Vlasto told the investigators that if DeRosa decided to leak the files it was ‘safe to say’ the move ‘was consistent with what the Governor wanted or had been discussed with him and he approved it’.

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A current aide – who has since accused Cuomo of groping her – told James’s team she saw DeRosa’s efforts to discredit Boylan for herself. The report said DeRosa called the former official ‘crazy’ and accused her of having a political agenda.

DeRosa also played a part in circulating a proposed op-ed, originally drafted by Cuomo, that contained ‘personal and professional attacks’ on Boylan, and later sharing it with current and former Executive Chamber employees.

Lindsey Boylan (pictured) said Cuomo made inappropriate comments towards her and physically touched her on various parts of her body and a current aide confirmed to James's team that DeRosa worked to discredit Boylan

Lindsey Boylan (pictured) said Cuomo made inappropriate comments towards her and physically touched her on various parts of her body and a current aide confirmed to James’s team that DeRosa worked to discredit Boylan

‘The draft letter or op-ed attacking Ms Boylan – particularly when combined with the release of the confidential internal records to the press – constitutes retaliation,’ the investigators wrote.

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Another former employee was asked by DeRosa to call a current staff member – known as ‘Kaitlin’, who also accused Cuomo of harassment – and record the call, asking if she was working with Boylan or if she ‘had her own allegations against the Governor or was talking to reporters’.

And when a state trooper made allegations against Cuomo, DeRosa – who served as Cuomo’s Chairwoman of the New York State Council on Women & Girls – tried to bury them and convince a newspaper editor not to publish them.

When a reporter from The Albany Times-Union called requesting comment on the state trooper’s allegations, DeRosa yelled at the newspaper’s editor shouting: ‘You guys are trying to reduce her hiring to being about looks. That’s what men do.’ 

DeRosa’s rise from New York resident to Andrew Cuomo’s ‘mean girl’ and most loyal aide

Before diffusing scandals, intimate dinners and daily Covid-19 press briefings as NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s appointed secretary, Melissa DeRosa dreamed of a career in public service.

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Age 16 she worked as an intern for the political director of the New York State AFL-CIO which, at the time, was preparing for Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Senate, according to the New York Times. 

‘I remember thinking while I was doing the envelope stuffing and answering the phone that someday I want to be the person who’s sitting in that room and driving those conversations and mapping out strategies, and being a part of it in a meaningful way,’ she said.

By 22 she graduated from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations and became the publicist for Theory, a New York City-based fashion house. She told the Times her one-year stint in the position was her rebellious phase.

DeRosa then moved to government relations firm Bolton-St Johns, where she worked as a lobbyist. 

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She later received her masters degree from Cornell in public administration and led former President Barack Obama’s national political action organization for New York, according to the Times.   

She also served as acting chief of staff to the state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who resigned in 2018 after multiple women accused him of sexual violence. DeRosa has claimed she knew nothing about the allegations that forced him out of office.

In 2013 DeRosa joined the New York state administration in as communications director. The same year she met her Matthew Wing, who also worked in Cuomo’s communications office at the time. 

She was promoted to Chief of Staff in 2015 and married Wing the next year, on August 27, 2016. The couple got married at the swanky Sagamore Hotel, which is on an island in upstate Lake George. Cuomo was among the guests.

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Just two years later, by 2017, DeRosa was appointed Secretary to the Governor – the highest appointed position in the state – and became  the first woman in history to hold the role.

She immediately became Cuomo’s most loyal aide and fiercest defender, sitting just six feet next to him at every Covid-19 press briefing and taking the heat as her boss faced 11 sexual assault allegations.

However in August 2021, before Cuomo’s own resignation, she stepped down from the position. Her last public statement was on August 3 – the day the attorney general’s damning report was released – when she retweeted Cuomo’s 15-minute response video where he denies the allegations in the report.

Two weeks later, in her final act of loyalty, she attended Cuomo’s resignation speech, which he broadcasted from New York City. DeRosa was seen leaving with Cuomo and two of his daughters.

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DeRosa's official title is secretary to the governor. Cuomo hired her in 2013 and promoted her to her current position four years later. She had previously been acting chief of staff for former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman — who resigned in 2018 after four women accused him of physically assaulting them during sex

DeRosa’s official title is secretary to the governor. Cuomo hired her in 2013 and promoted her to her current position four years later. She had previously been acting chief of staff for former New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman — who resigned in 2018 after four women accused him of physically assaulting them during sex

 

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