Apple quietly hires ex-Cuomo PR chief

Apple has quietly hired Andrew Cuomo’s former communications chief, who helped the disgraced ex-governor fight the allegations of sexual harassment that ultimately led to his downfall, The Post has learned.

Peter Ajemian — who has been working for Apple’s communications team since at least early August — previously served as Cuomo’s PR chief for nearly a year until stepping down in May.

According to Attorney General Letitia James’ report on Cuomo’s alleged sexual misconduct, Ajemian was part of a “team of advisors” that “had ongoing and regular discussions about how to respond” to allegations of sexual harassment against the governor.

But while other Cuomo aides like Melissa DeRosa and Rich Azzopardi stuck around until the bitter end, Ajemian jumped ship about three months before the governor resigned to pursue unspecified “opportunities in the private sector” — then landed at Apple over the summer.

Ajemian and Apple didn’t reply to requests for comment. It’s unclear exactly how long he has been working for the tech giant or what title he holds.

The headline on Ajemian’s LinkedIn profile lists him as an employee of the Cuomo administration, but he first emailed The Post on Apple’s behalf on Aug. 2 — the day before Attorney General Letitia James released her report on Cuomo. His name also appears on an Aug. 26 press release from Apple.

Peter Ajemian’s name and contact information were listed on an Aug. 26 press release from Apple.

As part of his work as Cuomo’s PR director, Ajemian was allegedly connected to an effort to smear ex-Cuomo staffer Lindsey Boylan, who had accused the governor of sexual harassment. The ploy was to tarnish Boylan’s image by releasing her confidential personnel files in what the attorney general’s office concluded was an act of “unlawful retaliation.”

Ajemian was on a call in March alongside Cuomo adviser Melissa DeRosa and two staffers from the Albany Times Union newspaper. During the call, DeRosa tried to get the newspaper to accept Boylan’s personnel files off-the-record, but a Times Union editor rebuffed her, according to the attorney general’s investigation. Cuomo’s office then allegedly sent the files anyway.

Advertisement

Cassie Moreno, who briefly worked under Ajemian as a Cuomo administration press officer beginning in December 2020, told The Post that the communications office was a “toxic” work environment and that she had decided to quit by February 2021.

Andrew Cuomo
Peter Ajemian helped prepare former Gov. Andrew Cuomo for a press conference where he addressed allegations of sexual harassment.
Getty Images

When she called Ajemian to give him the news, he “started screaming” at her, Moreno said.

“He told me that I lacked integrity,” she said, adding that she found Ajemian’s decision to continue defending the governor “disgusting.”

Moreno, 25, also offered some advice for Apple employees working with Ajemian: “Don’t trust him.”

“If I were a young woman at Apple, I wouldn’t want to report to him,” Moreno said, given Ajemian’s help in defending Cuomo from the harassment allegations. Moreno now works as an independent Democratic communications consultant.

Cassie Moreno
Cassie Moreno briefly worked as a Cuomo administration press officer. She said the environment in the communications department was “toxic.”

Weeks after Ajemian allegedly screamed at Moreno, he helped prepare Cuomo for a press conference in March where the governor addressed the allegations, according to the AG’s report.

Advertisement

Ajemian also was in a group text alongside other Cuomo advisers, and former Pete Buttigieg comms director Lis Smith, where they discussed the “spin” that the governor put on the sexual harassment allegations, according to the attorney general’s report.

Ajemian’s total pay in 2020 was $145,304, according to state records. His predecessor as Cuomo PR director — Dani Lever, who left in 2020 to work for Facebook — was also connected to the effort to smear Boylan, having helped distribute her file to journalists, according to the AG’s report.

But unlike Ajemian, Lever had already moved on to her tech job by the time she advised Cuomo on how to handle sexual harassment allegations. Because she advised the governor as a Facebook employee, she potentially put Facebook in violation of New York State lobbying laws, according to legal experts who talked to The Post.

While Facebook has ignored all requests from The Post for comment on Lever’s actions, other Cuomo confidantes accused of helping the governor handle the sexual misconduct allegations — including Human Rights Campaign head Alphonso David, Time’s Up executives Tina Tchen and Roberta Kaplan, as well as a duo of managing directors at public relations firm Kivvit — have all since quit their jobs or been fired.

Apple logo
Apple did not reply to requests for comment.
AFP via Getty Images

Advertisement