Woman who claims was paid for silence files lawsuit in Hoyt sexual harassment case

Nov 20, 2017

The woman accusing Sam Hoyt of sexual harassment says in a federal lawsuit that Gov. Andrew Cuomo knew and did nothing to stop it. However, the governor's office denies the allegations.

Sam Hoyt (left) and Lisa Marie Cater
Credit WBFO News file photo & Twitter photo

Lisa Marie Cater of Buffalo said the former Empire State Development Regional President, Hoyt helped her get a job at the Department of Motor Vehicles, then used that as an excuse to harass and assault her, starting in 2015.

Cater said he would call, text and email her inappropriately. She says he also sent her a nude image and groped her.

Cater said she tried to report the abuse. Cuomo's office said it launched investigations after the office received allegations in October 2016.

​"When Ms. Cater reported a complaint regarding Mr. ‎Hoyt, per protocol it was immediately referred to the State Employee Relations Office (GOER) for an investigation," said Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor. "At the same time Mr. Hoyt was instructed to have no further interaction with the complainant and to cooperate fully with the investigation. Mr. Hoyt did not supervise or work in the same agency as Ms. Cater. ​

"Based on interviews and evidence reviewed, GOER identified information that warranted further review by the Inspector General’s Office and referred the matter accordingly," David continued. "The IG conducted its own investigation, during which the complainant did not comply with repeated attempts to interview her or provide any documentation, and the matter was referred to [the Joint Commission on Public Ethics] for investigation. With the investigation still pending, Mr. Hoyt separated from state service. The facts alleged in this complaint regarding Mr. Hoyt were not provided to state investigators and in many cases contradict the public allegations made in the last several weeks.

"The state launched 3 separate investigations into this matter, and any assertion to the contrary is patently and demonstrably false, and as such, we expect this matter to be summarily dismissed,” David said.

John Milgrim, spokesman for the New York Inspector General, also issued a statement:

"On Nov. ‎30, 2016 the Chief Investigator of the IG's Buffalo office spoke with Ms. Cater," said Milgrim. "He asked her several times to come in for an interview and she refused. She was also asked over the phone for information regarding her complaint and she failed to provide any. The matter remains open."

Hoyt resigned Oct. 30 and has denied the allegations.