'Fredo' Cuomo's Revenge?

Photo by Jason Mendez/Invision/AP, File

Former CNN host Chris Cuomo doesn’t like the name “Fredo.” But, are we now seeing Fredo’s revenge?

As we reported earlier, Jeff Zucker resigned from his position as head of CNN, citing an improper but consensual relationship with a female co-worker.

Then the news came out that the woman involved was Allison Gollust, Zucker’s number two-person, the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, as well as the person that some speculated might take over for him.

Gollust also worked as executive vice president of corporate communications at NBC Universal when Jeff Zucker was its chief executive. She then worked as communications director under Gov. Andrew Cuomo before she went back to working for Zucker at CNN.

Gollust issued a statement in response to the news.

“Jeff and I have been close friends and professional partners for over 20 years. Recently, our relationship changed during COVID. I regret that we didn’t disclose it at the right time,” Gollust said in a statement that immediately raised eyebrows.

It was an open secret and apparently not a new thing, despite what Gollust claimed, according to others who worked there.

“I encourage you to google the two parties and read the details about their relationship that dates back years. That said, I’m sure company emails can easily determine if she’s lying in this statement. Again—It was an open secret and I haven’t even worked there for like 8 years,” former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien tweeted in response to Gollust’s statement.

Former CNN correspondent Roland Martin bluntly declared it an “open secret” that Gollust was in a relationship with the boss.

“It was an open secret at @CNN that Jeff Zucker and Allison Gollust, who he hired as head of communications, were having an affair,” Martin tweeted. “I was only there with them for four months in 2013 and knew. NBC folks knew when they worked together there. @katiecouric intimated that in her book!”

Now Matthew Belloni, founding partner of Puck news and former editor of the Hollywood Reporter, just dropped another tantalizing tidbit.

“Potentially important: I’m told CNN received a litigation hold letter recently from Chris Cuomo lawyers, demanding, among other things, preservation of all communications between Zucker, comms chief Allison Gollust, and Andrew Cuomo,” Belloni said.

Meanwhile, Radar Online reported earlier this month that CNN was refusing to pay the remainder of Chris Cuomo’s $18 million paycheck because he was dumped under their morals clause. They also reported on the affair at the beginning of the month.

So, if we were to add this all up and the timing of it, it looks like Chris Cuomo was trying to throw down the trump card that he had — knowing the relationship — and he was trying to use it to get his money. The story was beginning to leak. This announcement by Zucker and Gollust may be an effort to blunt any revelations that would have come out because of Cuomo’s actions if this story is true. But who knows how much more is there in those communications. That could be some big dynamite.

Mutually assured destruction: if you take me down, then I’ll take you down, too. Chris Cuomo went down, so now comes Zucker’s turn and Fredo’s revenge.

But the problem here is that this places an even more troubling spin on the Cuomo scandal than was already there. Is this the reason then that Andrew Cuomo was given the ability to promote himself on Chris Cuomo’s show, when any other ethical sense would have militated against it? Is this the reason that Chris Cuomo was kept around for so long despite his actions? That’s what it looks like now and that adds just more scandal to the mountain of scandal that CNN already is buried under.