Ex-Cuomo official claims boss treated women like ‘sexual objects’

A former top investigator in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has filed a federal sex discrimination complaint against her agency and the married boss who supervised her, claiming he treated women as “sexual objects” and had a “romantic relationship” with a subordinate he promoted.

“When James `Jay’ Kiyonaga ran the Justice Center [For the Protection of People with Special Needs], the rules were clear: women were sexual objects,” former Justice Center Inspector General Patricia Gunning’s lawyers said in the complaint filed with the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission.

“Mr. Kiyonaga fostered a sexualized frat boy culture . . . If you were a willing recipient of his sexual advances, he favored and even promoted you. If you were not, your career languished. And if you objected to his preferential treatment, he retaliated. That is what happened to Patricia Gunning,” lawyer Debra Greenberg of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady said in the complaint.

Gunning, who had previously prosecuted cases in the Rockland County and Brooklyn district attorney’s office, first told The Post of her harassment claims against Kiyonaga last October.

But the EEOC complaint filed Tuesday provides shocking new details accusing Kiyanaga of other sexual shenanigans.

Kiyonaga was executive deputy director and later acting boss at the Justice Center before being appointed to the number 2 spot at the Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities last year.

“Kiyonaga constantly discussed sex at the office, told Ms. Gunning that a member of her staff was ‘f–kng hot,’ apparently had sex with and repeatedly promoted a low-level employee known as ‘tits’ and distorted Justice Center policy to accommodate his romantic liaison,” Gunning’s complaint said.

The complaint identifies staffer Dee Levy as the subordinate Kiyonaga was allegedly having a “romantic affair” with and whom he promoted to a coveted, “high-level union position.”

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Gunning complained about having to report to Levy about her investigations and told Kiyonaga his “personal life” should not be injected into the workplace.

The complaint also tells of another episode of Kiyonaga trying to kiss another female staffer at a bar and when she resisted, he excluded her from “high profile” projects.

Gunning was ordered to resign under duress or get fired if she didn’t after Kiyonaga bad mouthed her to his successor as agency head, the complaint said.

A Cuomo administrative source said that Gunning had personally reached out to the governor’s top deputy, Secretary Melissa DeRosa, about her claims after she was fired.

DeRosa referred Gunning’s complaint to the state Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott’s office to investigate, the source said. The probe is ongoing.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Center had no immediate comment.

But the Justice Center previously shot down Gunning’s claims against Kiyonaga as “without merit.”

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