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Who is Kumiki Gibson? Andrew Cuomo's top lawyer quits admin amid guv's sexual harassment scandals

Gibson had earlier resigned from her post as commissioner in 2008, during which she allegedly allowed gay, White men to 'strut around the office in jeans and cowboy hats'
Andrew Cuomo's top lawyer Kumiki Gibson resigned (LinkedIn)
Andrew Cuomo's top lawyer Kumiki Gibson resigned (LinkedIn)

Kumiki Gibson, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top lawyer, is leaving after less than two years on the job, on March 8. The latest resignation comes amid a wave of departures from the administration embroiled in scandals involving Covid-19 deaths in nursing homes and sexual harassment allegations against the governor. A Republican-sponsored resolution seeking to begin impeachment proceedings against the New York governor will also be introduced by the end of the day.

Gibson, who served as Counsel to the Governor since September 2019, will be leaving the administration this Friday, March 12, for a job in the non-profit sector, according to the governor’s office. “I informed the Executive Chamber a month ago that I planned to leave State service and have accepted a position at a nationally prominent not-for-profit organization,” Gibson said in a statement. Special counsel and senior advisor to the governor Beth Garvey will be taking her place, as acting counsel in the meantime, according to Cuomo.


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Who is Kumiki Gibson?

Kumiki Gibson is a lawyer, originally from Buffalo, who was named Counsel to the Governor of New York State by Cuomo on September 3, 2019. During the Clinton administration, she served as chief counsel to then vice president Al Gore from 1994 to 1997 and was the Vice President and General Counsel of Johns Hopkins University. She graduated with an A.B. in Government cum laude from Harvard University. She was also a student at Northeastern University School of Law.

Gibson started off in 1988 as a law clerk at Clifford Scott Green in the US District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Prior to serving as a state executive, Gibson served in various capacities, including as Counselor to the President of the National Urban League, which advocates on behalf of economic and social justice for African Americans and against racial discrimination.

She was also a litigation partner at Williams & Connolly, a Washington, DC, law firm. After serving as legal counsel to Gore, Gibson started her trial career at the United States Department of Justice. She has held various positions in the private, not-for-profit and public sectors, working in the private sector as a labor and civil rights attorney for 10 years from 2008 to 2018. Prior to that, she served as a commissioner at New York State Division of Human Rights for one year, from 2007 to 2008, according to her LinkedIn.

Her 'inner circle of gay men' got special treatment: Lawsuit

Monday's event does not mark the first time Gibson has tendered resignation. After Governor Eliot Spitzer Gibson, who appointed her as Commissioner in January 2007, resigned from office in March 2008, Gibson left her post the very next month. Several newspapers reported that she was sued by former employees, two of whom were White and over 60. The men, suing her separately, claimed that Gibson let them go because she wanted "diversity" as well as "young people". A third suit was filed by Veanka McKenzie, a Black woman and a senior attorney at the division, who claimed that after she complained that Gibson’s "inner circle of gay men" was getting special treatment, she was hit with "relentless retaliation".

They alleged that after staffers complained, Gibson retaliated by hiring gay White men who were allowed to "strut around the office in jeans and cowboy hats", though, the lawsuit alleges, the office forbade women to wear jeans, according to a NY Post report. However, out of all allegations, public records showed only three suits and all of those were dismissed.