There’s blood in the water for another ally of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the heels of CNN’s firing of his brother Chris.
A growing bipartisan chorus of state pols is demanding that Andrew Cuomo’s handpicked SUNY chancellor, James Malatras, either resign or get the boot over newly surfaced texts that show him trashing one of the disgraced ex-gov’s sex-harass accusers.
“I believe he should resign or be terminated by the SUNY board,” said state Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx), who serves on Albany’s higher-education panel, to The Post.
“The only reason he got that gig was because he was a toxic enabler of the Departed [Cuomo],’’ Rivera said of Malatras, who is accused of bashing Lindsey Boylan, the first woman to publicly accuse Andrew Cuomo of sex harassment, in 2019 while president of the Rockefeller Institute.
Sen. John Liu (D-Queens), also a member of the education panel, tweeted, “SUNY trustees must oust Jim Malatras whose only road to becoming chancellor last year was being Andrew Cuomo henchman.”
Malatras, who once served as the former governor’s state operations director, assumed the helm of the massive State University of New York system in 2020. He earns around $450,000 annually.
GOP gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani asserted that the Boylan texts were just “last straw” for Malatras — citing the SUNY president’s involvement with editing the state Health Department nursing-home report that low-balled coronavirus deaths and editing Cuomo’s $5.1 million COVID memoir.
Malatras’s texts targeting Boylan were included in a document dump by state Attorney General Letitia James’s office last week involving the sexual-harassment probe of Andrew Cuomo.
The newly released documents proved damning to Chris Cuomo, who was accused of secretly aiding the defense of his brother, and included texts by Malatras to gubernatorial aides.
“Malatras to Boylan: Go f–k yourself,” Malatras wrote in one text.
The SUNY chief added in another text, “Let’s release some of her cray emails!”
Malatras also forwarded Cuomo aides a picture of a nuclear explosion with the word “kaboom” while discussing Boylan.
A year later, the Cuomo camp released portions of Boylan’s personnel file to try to undercut her harassment claims.
Andrew Cuomo resigned as governor in August amid a slew of sexual-misconduct complaints, including Boylan’s. He has denied any wrongdoing.
Malatras issued an apology late Friday over the texts, saying, “My words were inappropriate, disrespectful and wrong.’’
But many lawmakers weren’t buying his mea culpa.
Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx), who previously served briefly with Malatras in the governor’s office, said, “Don’t believe Chancellor Jim Malatras, who claims he was acting out of character by discrediting the women harassed by Cuomo.
“He never respected women.”
Biaggi said Malatras mocked a suggestion in 2017 of having “New York being the first state to address access to menstrual products … in schools.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Kathy Hochul has refused to say whether she supports Malatras or his removal.
“Governor Hochul committed to New Yorkers that no one who was mentioned in the Attorney General’s investigation performing inappropriate conduct that contributed to a culture of harassment would be a member of her Executive Chamber, and she has delivered on that promise,” Hochul spokeswoman Hazel Crampton-Hays said in response to questions from The Post.
Technically, Cuomo appointees on the SUNY Board hired Malatras.
They issued a statement Friday night sticking with him.
SUNY board chairwoman Merryl Tisch said keeping Malatras as chancellor is in the best interest of the 64-campus public university system.
“Jim gave a full-throated apology which I thought was sincere. I hope [Boylan] can find in her heart to accept his apology,” Tisch said.
But Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) contrasted CNN’s booting of Chris Cuomo for aiding his brother with the 15-member SUNY Board of Trustees defending Malatras.
“It looks like CNN is more accountable than @SUNY that can’t seem to fire an unqualified, abusive, and misogynistic chancellor,” Kim said in a tweet.
The SUNY board was criticized for not conducting a national search for a new chancellor before appointing Malatras during the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020.
Other GOP candidates for governor agreed with the Dem lawmakers that Malatras has to go and criticized Hochul for ducking the issue.
“To be clear, Jim Malatras shouldn’t have been picked as SUNY Chancellor in the first place,” said Long Island US Rep. Lee Zeldin, the Republican Party leadership’s favored candidate for governor.
“This 2020 pick was made based on loyalty to Andrew Cuomo as by far the most important trait. There was no close second requirement being demanded.
“When you add the other considerations, from Malatras’s role in Cuomo’s nursing-home cover-up to his attacks on Cuomo accusers and Hochul’s make-believe pledge to totally clean house, the need for a big-time reset in the SUNY system is urgent.”
Former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, another GOP gubernatorial hopeful who ran against Cuomo in 2014, said, “Anyone acutely connected to the Cuomo corruption scandals, especially the nursing home or sexual-misconduct crimes, must be held accountable.”
“If Jim Malatras doesn’t resign — with all the evidence of his aiding and abetting — he needs to be removed.”
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