Cuomo's latest scandal: NY bridge embattled governor named after his late father has 'serious structural flaws that were covered up by contractors and could cause $3.9billion twin span to collapse', report finds

 As Andrew Cuomo reels from a torrent of sexual harassment claims and is probed over the nursing home scandal, a potential new crisis has emerged for the already embattled governor: the alleged cover-up of serious flaws in a bridge he named after his late father. 

The Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the rickety Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, in 2017, has 'structural safety' issues that could lead to its collapse, a report published by the Albany Times Union has found. 

The report alleges that the contractor for the $3.9 billion twin span 'covered up' structural issues, including faulty bolts that are supposed to pin down the bridge's suspension cables - posing a potentially fatal risk to the public.

'Tappan Zee Constructors, the private corporation building the bridge for the state authority, may have committed fraud by concealing the fact that large numbers of bolts had been breaking due to either improper installation techniques, manufacturing defects, or both,' the report reads.

Amid a torrent of sexual harassment claims and a probe into his alleged cover-up into nursing home deaths during the pandemic, a potential new crisis has emerged for Gov. Cuomo

Amid a torrent of sexual harassment claims and a probe into his alleged cover-up into nursing home deaths during the pandemic, a potential new crisis has emerged for Gov. Cuomo

The Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the rickety Tappan Zee Bridge in Albany, in 2017, has 'structural safety' issues that could lead to its collapse

The Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, which replaced the rickety Tappan Zee Bridge in Albany, in 2017, has 'structural safety' issues that could lead to its collapse

For structures like bridges and high-rises, experts say even a few broken bolts can result in a catastrophic collapse.

In January 2016, an iron worker was struck in the face by a segment of one bolt which had snapped as he was attempting to tighten it with a wrench. 

The shard of metal ricocheted off an overhang and split his lip open.

'When you look at them, bro, the heads of them were like hollow, bad spot, sometimes the shank-lead to the thread has got a hollow spot,' Iron worker James McNall told the Times Union.

McNall, who was fired later that year after issues with the bolts persisted, secretly recorded conversations with engineers and iron workers responsible for assembling the bridge.

He later played those recordings for a  quality-assurance inspector at Alta Vista, a private firm hired by the New York State Thruway Authority.


During that meeting, McNall told the inspector that Tappan Zee Constructors may have committed fraud.

He recounted witnessing bolts spontaneously breaking, due to either improper installation techniques, manufacturing defects, or both, and said his recorded conversations with workers 'appeared to confirm' that the contractor's team had hidden the matter from inspectors. 

In addition to the suspension cable bolts, dozens of bolts had also similarly broken at the port assembly site and even on some pieces that had been installed on the bridge for more than a year.

One bridge expert, Ahmad Itani, found 'the volume of bolt failures on the bridge to be unprecedented and highly alarming,' the TU reported.   

'There are no normal or acceptable circumstances that would produce the number of bolt failures that have occurred at the bridge,' he continued.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo drives a 1932 Packard as his then girlfriend, TV chef Sandra Lee, blows a kiss as they cross the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in September, 2018

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo drives a 1932 Packard as his then girlfriend, TV chef Sandra Lee, blows a kiss as they cross the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge in September, 2018

The report alleges that the contractor for the $3.9 billion twin span 'covered up' structural issues, including faulty bolts that are supposed to pin down the bridge's suspension cables, which could pose a potentially fatal risk to the public

The report alleges that the contractor for the $3.9 billion twin span 'covered up' structural issues, including faulty bolts that are supposed to pin down the bridge's suspension cables, which could pose a potentially fatal risk to the public

Andrew Cuomo named the bridge after his late father, Mario Cuomo (right), who severed as Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994.

Andrew Cuomo named the bridge after his late father, Mario Cuomo (right), who severed as Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994.

The Times Union obtained records stemming from a False Claims Act case filed by McNall in the state Supreme Court, but the case has remained under seal since 2017.

Republican State Sen. Joseph Griffo, of Rome, New York, authored a letter to the Senate's Government Operations Committee calling the structural flaws a 'clear and present danger,' and demanded an investigation.

The offices of the New York inspector general and the attorney general have since launched probes into the matter.

The AG investigation 'devolved from seeking an incisive probe of the bolt failures to pursuing an effort to arguably downplay the severity of the allegations, including any potential structural threat to the bridge,' according to the Times Union.

A confidential report carried out by the New York Thurway Authority (NYTA) put the likelihood of the bolts failing at one percent, but also listed a snapping rate as high as 50 percent as a 'worst-case scenario,' the outlet reported.

Since 2018, neither the inspect general's nor the attorney general's offices have spoken publicly about their investigations into the bridge.

In a statement to the NY Post, the NYTA, which reports to Cuomo's office, denied any concerns over the safety of the bridge, insisting it 'has and continues to be safe'. 

A follow up statement to Insider, read: 'FACT: There was no state cover-up: The Thruway Authority learned of the allegations of bolt failures in 2016 and immediately informed the Inspector General.

'We spent more than $1 million and engaged world-renowned subject matter experts, developed a testing program, conducted extensive studies, and examined more than 500 bolts. The tests confirmed that the bolts met or exceeded the requirements set forth by the American Society for Testing and Materials, which sets standards that govern the industry.'

When quizzed by Insider whether it would be in favor of unsealing court documents pertaining to the investigations, NYTA said: 'As much as we would like to share more information, we are unable to discuss it further at this time.'

One bridge expert, Ahmad Itani, found 'the volume of bolt failures on the bridge to be unprecedented and highly alarming'

One bridge expert, Ahmad Itani, found 'the volume of bolt failures on the bridge to be unprecedented and highly alarming'

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, in August 2017

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, replacing the Tappan Zee Bridge, in August 2017

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo drives a 1955 Chevrolet Corvette with World War II veteran Armando Gallela during the dedication ceremony

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo drives a 1955 Chevrolet Corvette with World War II veteran Armando Gallela during the dedication ceremony

Andrew Cuomo named the bridge after his father, Mario Cuomo, who severed as Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994. He died in 2015.

The dedication of the 3.1 mile bridge was officially made to his father in 2018, and Andrew Cuomo ceremoniously drove across it during the formal opening in September that year, with his then girlfriend, TV chef Sandra Lee.  

Less than three years on, and the safety of the bridge is just one of a myriad of scandals currently facing Cuomo, who has so far refused to resign.

On Tuesday, a sixth woman came forward to accuse him of sexually harassment.

The accuser, a former aide whose identity has not yet been revealed, claimed Cuomo touched her inappropriately during an encounter at his executive mansion last year when she had been summoned for work.

In response, Cuomo doubled down on comments he made last week, saying: 'I never touched anyone inappropriately.'

Two more former aides came forward over the weekend to accuse the Democrat of sexual misconduct.

Ana Liss, 35, said that when she worked as a policy aide to the governor between 2013 and 2015, Cuomo called her 'sweetheart,' once kissed her hand and asked personal questions, including whether she had a boyfriend. She said he sometimes greeted her with a hug and a kiss on both cheeks.

Liss, who never made a formal complaint about the governor's behavior, said she initially thought of Cuomo's behavior as harmless, but it grew to bother her and felt it was patronizing.

Ana Liss, 35, (pictured above) previously served as Cuomo's policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015 but claims he subjected her to sexual misconduct during her time in his administration
Karen Hinton claims the governor summoned her to his 'dimly lit' hotel room and embraced her after a work event in 2000 before she managed to escape

Ana Liss, 35, (pictured left) previously served as Cuomo's policy and operations aide between 2013 and 2015 but claims he subjected her to sexual misconduct during her time in his administration. Karen Hinton (right) claims the governor summoned her to his 'dimly lit' hotel room and embraced her after a work event in 2000 before she managed to escape

Governor Cuomo Says There's 'No Way' He Will Resign Over Harassment Allegations
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In an interview with WROC on Monday, Liss said she wasn't sure if her interactions with Cuomo were sexual harassment but did describe it as inappropriate.

'For me there was one occasion where I was asked if I had a boyfriend by the governor. Those interactions I thought at the time were harmless flirtations, and 'that's how he is'. Other women went along with it and reacted kindly and bashfully to that kind of treatment. What really did me in, in state government, was the broader work environment which was hostile,' she said.

'It was toxic, retaliatory, hostile. There was screaming, there was name calling. There was a sense of fear in the air that you could say or do the wrong thing at any moment and you could lose your job.'

Karen Hinton, 62, spoke to the Washington Post on Saturday about about an incident in which Cuomo allegedly summoned her to his 'dimly lit' hotel room and embraced her after a work event in 2000.

Hinton said that she tried to pull away from Cuomo but that he allegedly pulled her back and held her before she backed away and escaped the room.

The governor's office quickly denied that the incident in the hotel room ever took place.

Peter Ajemian, Cuomo's director of communications, told the Post that Hinton is a 'known antagonist of the Governor's who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago'.

'All women have the right to come forward and tell their story - however, it's also the responsibility of the press to consider self-motivation. This is reckless. 

Former adviser Lindsey Boylan, 36, said he made inappropriate comments on her appearance, once kissed her on the lips at the end of a meeting and suggested a game of strip poker as they sat with other aides on a jet flight.

Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked if she ever had sex with older men and made other comments she interpreted as gauging her interest in an affair.

Anna Ruch, 33, who did not work for the state, described Cuomo putting his hands on her face and asking if he could kiss her after they met at a wedding.

Ana Liss, 35, said that when she worked as a policy aide to the governor between 2013 and 2015, Cuomo called her 'sweetheart,' once kissed her hand and asked personal questions, including whether she had a boyfriend

Ana Liss, 35, said that when she worked as a policy aide to the governor between 2013 and 2015, Cuomo called her 'sweetheart,' once kissed her hand and asked personal questions, including whether she had a boyfriend

Charlotte Bennett (above), 25, worked as an aide for Cuomo. She claims he sexually harassed her and left her 'terrified'

Charlotte Bennett (above), 25, worked as an aide for Cuomo. She claims he sexually harassed her and left her 'terrified'

Anna Ruch (above) alleges that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan
Lindsey Boylan, 36, claims Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent and went out of his way to touch her on her lower back, arms and legs

Anna Ruch, 33, (left) claimed Cuomo behaved inappropriately at a Manhattan wedding in September 2019.  Lindsey Boylan, 36, (right) claims Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent and went out of his way to touch her on her lower back, arms and leg

Anna Ruch claimed Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan. After seeing the above photo, dozens on Twitter called Cuomo a 'Sexual Frankenstein'

Anna Ruch claimed Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a September 2019 wedding in Manhattan. After seeing the above photo, dozens on Twitter called Cuomo a 'Sexual Frankenstein'

In a news conference last week, Cuomo denied ever touching anyone inappropriately but apologized for behaving in a way that he now realized had upset women he worked with.

He said he'd made jokes and asked personal questions in an attempt to be playful and frequently greeted people with hugs and kisses, as his father, Mario Cuomo, had done when he was governor.

'I understand sensitivities have changed. Behavior has changed,' Cuomo said. 'I get it and I'm going to learn from it.'

The state's attorney general has hired an outside law firm to investigate the sexual harassment allegations.

Several senior lawmakers in Albany have called for Cuomo's resignation in light of the claims. 

However, the governor has remained defiant, insisting there is 'no way' he will step down. Instead, he said he's waiting for the full investigation into the matter to be concluded.

Cuomo is also facing scrutiny amid claims he purposely under reported coronavirus deaths in nursing homes by omitting those who died in hospital after being transported from their respective facilities.

The controversy stems from an executive order from March 2020, when hospitals were told to release patients who had tested positive for coronavirus back to their nursing homes upon discharge. 

Cuomo has denied the claims, insisting allegations suggesting otherwise amount to nothing more than 'conspiracy theories.'    

Cuomo's latest scandal: NY bridge embattled governor named after his late father has 'serious structural flaws that were covered up by contractors and could cause $3.9billion twin span to collapse', report finds Cuomo's latest scandal: NY bridge embattled governor named after his late father has 'serious structural flaws that were covered up by contractors and could cause $3.9billion twin span to collapse', report finds Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:28 Rating: 5

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