NEW YORK (WABC) -- After more than a decade of dominance in Albany, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's power seems to be hanging on by a thread.
The calls for Cuomo's resignation grow louder every day, and 121 members of the state Assembly and Senate have said publicly they believe Cuomo can no longer govern and should quit office now, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
The count includes 65 Democrats and 56 Republicans.
Cuomo's support in the state Senate was especially thin. Roughly two thirds of its members have called for the Democrat's resignation, including Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
A group of 59 Democratic state legislators on Thursday demanded Cuomo's resignation in a letter in the wake of the latest allegation, in which an aide to Cuomo claimed he groped her in the governor's residence.
The Times Union of Albany reported that the woman, who it did not name, was alone with Cuomo late last year when he closed the door, reached under her shirt and fondled her. The newspaper's reporting is based on an unidentified source with direct knowledge of the woman's accusation. The governor had summoned her to the Executive Mansion in Albany, saying he needed help with his cellphone, the newspaper reported.
"In light of the Governor's admission of inappropriate behavior and the findings of altered data on nursing home COVID-19 deaths he has lost the confidence of the public and the state legislature, rendering him ineffective in this time of most urgent need," the lawmakers' letter said. "It is time for Governor Cuomo to resign."
The letter released by the group comes as Cuomo's grip on power in the state appeared increasingly tenuous.
The top Democrat in the state Assembly, Speaker Carl Heastie, released a statement authorizing a committee to begin an impeachment investigation:
"After meeting with the Assembly Majority Conference today, I am authorizing the Assembly Judiciary Committee to begin an impeachment investigation, led by Chair Charles D. Lavine, to examine allegations of misconduct against Governor Cuomo. The reports of accusations concerning the governor are serious. The committee will have the authority to interview witnesses, subpoena documents and evaluate evidence, as is allowed by the New York State Constitution. I have the utmost faith that Assemblymember Lavine and the members of the committee will conduct an expeditious, full and thorough investigation. This inquiry will not interfere with the independent investigation being conducted by Attorney General James."
James said the Assembly investigation will not conflict with the one her office is leading.
Cuomo has denied the latest allegations.
"I have never done anything like this," Cuomo said. "The details of this report are gut-wrenching."
He declined to comment further, saying he would not speak to the specifics of this or any other allegation given an ongoing investigation overseen by the state Attorney General Letitia James -- who has set up a web site seeking information relating to the case.
Anyone with information can visit AGIndependentInvestigation.com/, call 212-225-3100 for voice messages, text to 518-545-0870, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke his harshest words yet regarding the controversy surrounding Cuomo's sex harassment allegations, saying bluntly, "He just can't serve as governor anymore."
"The latest report, and the fact that we can talk about how many people are bringing through, bringing forward accusations," de Blasio said. "And it's not one, it's not two, it's not three, it's not four, it's not five or six women who have come forward is deeply troubling, this specific allegation."
The mayor went on to call the allegations "absolutely unacceptable."
"The governor called an employee of his someone who he had power over, calling them to a private place, and then sexually assaulting her is absolutely unacceptable," de Blasio said. "It is disgusting to me, and he can no longer serve as governor. It's as simple as that."
The three-term governor faces harassment allegations from six women and increasingly urgent calls for his resignation or impeachment from Democrats and Republicans alike, though Cuomo has repeatedly said he won't resign.
"I think we've seen so many, so many troubling things that have come out just in a matter of weeks, starting with the fact that thousands of people died in the nursing homes, and we still don't have the truth about that, and their families need and deserve the truth," de Blasio said. "And we know one thing, there was a purposeful cover up, and that alone is unacceptable and disqualifying, you know, new issues, obviously, around the Tappan Zee Bridge. But but these six women have come forward with such powerful painful stories, and particularly this most recent report, is just as qualified. He just can't serve as governor anymore."
A Cuomo attorney said Thursday that she reported the groping allegation to local police after the woman involved declined to press charges herself.
Beth Garvey, the governor's acting counsel, said in a statement Thursday that as a matter of state policy, the woman who made the allegations was told she should contact her local police department.
"In this case the person is represented by counsel and when counsel confirmed the client did not want to make a report, the state notified the police department and gave them the attorney's information," Garvey said.
She said the state was obligated to do so under state law.
In New York, the Assembly is the legislative house that could move to impeach Cuomo, who has faced multiple allegations that he made the workplace an uncomfortable place for young women with sexually suggestive remarks and behavior, including unwanted touching and a kiss.
Cuomo has denied inappropriately touching anyone but has said he is sorry if he made anyone uncomfortable and didn't intend to do so.
At least five accusers - Charlotte Bennett, Lindsey Boylan, Anna Liss, Karen Hinton and the latest accuser - worked for the governor in Albany or during his time in President Bill Clinton's Cabinet. Another, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that she met Cuomo at a friend's wedding.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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