Lisa Marie Cater has stepped forward to say that she is the upstate woman who prompted the resignation last month of a high-ranking, Gov. Cuomo appointee — and to accuse the governor of repeatedly ignoring his colleague’s “horrific acts.”
On Saturday, Cater’s attorney filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court alleging that former Empire State Development Corp. regional president William “Sam” Hoyt got her a job at the DMV and then leveraged it to “manipulate, sexually harass and sexually assault” her.
The bombshell complaint names Cuomo and Hoyt as defendants, because Cater said she contacted Cuomo’s office about Hoyt’s harassment no less than six times but was always treated with “deliberate indifference.”
The “barrage” of unwanted kisses, crotch-grabbing, stalking, and daily calls, emails and sexts continued for a year, until Cater found herself on the “brink of a nervous breakdown,” according to court papers.
Cuomo’s office has denied ignoring Cater’s complaints, according to a report in the New York Post, noting that Hoyt “will defend himself.”
“If I didn’t speak up and say something, nobody would have known anything,” said Cater. “Honestly and truly, this could be a ‘Lifetime’ movie. It’s that twisted.”
According to the report, “Cater, 51, first met Hoyt, 55, at a fundraiser in 2008 when the Buffalo Democrat was a state Assemblyman. Seven years later, in the fall of 2015, she was the victim of domestic abuse and about to be evicted. She began reaching out to local public officials, including Hoyt, for help.”
The apartment and job he helped her attain came attached to expectations, Cater soon learned.
“He hung this job over my head,” she told the Post in her first on-the-record interview. “I felt like a possession of his.”
One day, Hoyt rang her doorbell and “groped and … kissed” her, leaving her “in [a] state of shock,” according to court documents. Fearful she would lose her job, she adopted a “go along to get along disposition.”
Amid a state investigation, Hoyt resigned on Oct. 30.
Watching Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul praise Hoyt as he announced his exit from the $157,000-a-year post, Cater was incensed.
“The Hoyt family has been contributing to this community for generations, so we wish him well in his journey to the private sector, and appreciate the great work he’s done on behalf of the state,” Hochul told reporters.
Hoyt claimed he was leaving for a better job, but the next day, it was revealed to the press that Hoyt was accused of sexual harassment and had paid his unnamed accuser, now known to be Cater, $50,000. He denied the harassment charge and said he tried to end a consensual relationship but was threatened by the woman.
“This guy is leaving with fanfare. This isn’t right. Nobody has listened to me from day one … They are all acting like they didn’t know a damn thing about it,” Cater said, now determined to be heard.
“The governor has never spoken to Mr. Hoyt about this,” a spokesman for Cuomo told the Post.
Hoyt — who took over his late father’s Assembly seat in 1992, serving in Albany until 2010 — is no stranger to sexual scandal. While a lawmaker, he had an affair with a 23-year-old student intern that began in 2003 and continued through 2005.
The tryst came to light in 2008 after a blogger posted lurid emails between the two. He was reprimanded by since-disgraced Speaker Sheldon Silver and ordered to steer clear of student aides.
Despite his history, Cuomo appointed the fellow Dem to the lucrative economic development post in Buffalo in 2011.