The sister of former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been accused of acting as the secret ringleader of an “activist” group that criticized her brother’s sexual harassment accusers online.
Madeline Cuomo, a lawyer and younger sister of Andrew Cuomo, ‘led’ the We Decide New York (WDNY) activist group ‘to support her brother and increasingly aggressively hunt down his accusers,’ according to a New York Times report Monday.
In September 2022, when Andrew Cuomo’s former assistant Charlotte Bennett sued him over allegations of sexual harassment, Madeline Cuomo texted the group’s executives, The Times reported, citing interviews with current executives from WDNY and a treasure trove of thousands of messages delivered to the outlet.
“Hello, I just spoke and he thinks a distraction might be useful today,” she wrote, appearing to allude to her brother, who denies any involvement with the activist group.
Madeline Cuomo has encouraged activists to post ‘bimbo photos’ of Bennett from her Instagram, showing ‘Charlotte In her sex kitten on horseback’ and perhaps contrasting them with more ‘stark and professional’ snaps loyal Cuomo aides.
Madeline Cuomo (left), lawyer and sister of Andrew Cuomo (right), ‘led’ the We Decide New York (WDNY) activist group ‘to support her brother and hunt down his accusers’
“No respectable woman would EVER pose like this,” Madeline Cuomo wrote, adding: ‘Pictures of bimbos.’ ‘Really despicable.’ ‘Unsophisticated girls.’
A few hours later, one of the WDNY leaders Anna Vavare shared a sultry photo on Twitter showing Bennett dancing in lingerie, adding the menacing note “Your life will be dissected like a frog in HS science class.”
In a statement to DailyMail.com on Monday evening, Madeline Cuomo acknowledged her contacts with WDNY, but insisted her brother Andrew Cuomo had no role in her actions.
“I was in contact with several of these people informally who wanted to spread the truth that was not sought after by the mainstream media. I supported and encouraged their efforts to uncover the truth,” Madeline Cuomo said.
“To be clear: I acted alone with the folks at WDNY and without any involvement from my brother,” she said.
“Insofar as I invoked his name, it was to make the group feel that their efforts were appreciated, but it was not at the direction of my brother or to his knowledge,” Madeline Cuomo added.
Andrew Cuomo’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, told DailyMail.com: “There are many New Yorkers who support Governor Cuomo, think he was a railroad victim, that the judicial system has been fundamentally corrupted and the credibility of witnesses has been ignored.”
“The Governor does not personally or follow any social media accounts, and he was not directly or indirectly involved in these online efforts – when he had something to say, he didn’t hold back. to do so publicly.”
“He values his supporters and believes that when the facts are fully exposed, the injustice will be undeniable.”
One of WDNY’s executives, Anna Vavare, shared this sultry photo on Twitter showing Bennett dancing in lingerie, after filing a lawsuit accusing Andrew Cuomo of harassment
Vavare added the menacing note “Your life will be dissected like a frog in an HS science class”
According to the Times report, the incident with Bennett was far from an isolated incident, and Madeline Cuomo had extensive contact with Vavare and Sandy Behan, the founding chairman of WDNY.
Made up almost entirely of women inspired by Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 response, the group was founded in the spring of 2021 as the governor faced mounting criticism over deaths in New York’s nursing homes during the pandemic. , as well as an increasing number of sexual relations. allegations of harassment.
WDNY members, who were mostly in their 50s, 60s and 60s, took to social media to defend the Democrat-elect from growing criticism and investigations.
According to the Times, Madeline Cuomo logged on to the group within weeks of its inception and began urging members to increasingly attack the governor’s critics.
Behan told The Times that Madeline Cuomo insisted her role be kept secret, urging WDNY members to delete her posts and falsely claim to reporters that they had no contact with the Cuomo family.
“Madeline was demanding. She wanted to make sure we toed the line, and we did,” Behan said.
“It was a way for her to spread information for the benefit of her brother. She didn’t want to be my girlfriend – she was using us.
The Cuomo family are seen together in 1982 as Mario M. Cuomo is sworn in as governor
In February 2021, Charlotte Bennett became the second woman to bring charges against Andrew Cuomo, playing a vital role in his downfall.
Madeline Cuomo’s relationship with the WDNY group disintegrated late last year, following tensions over her growing demands and a proposed documentary project, according to the Times.
Vavare unexpectedly resigned from the group’s management team, citing burnout and a dispute over social media account passwords.
Behan said Madeline Cuomo blamed her for Vavare’s departure and the band fell apart over recriminations over the failure of the documentary project.
“We were victims of this affair. We were derailed by Madeline,’ Behan told The Times.
In February 2021, Charlotte Bennett became the second woman to bring charges against Andrew Cuomo, playing a vital role in his political downfall.
Cuomo resigned in August after New York Attorney General Letitia James released the results of her investigation concluding that Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, including Bennett.
Cuomo denied those allegations and criticized the attorney general’s report as politically motivated ax work.
“I’ve never touched anyone inappropriately,” he insisted at the time.
He has hinted at a political comeback and speculation has swirled that he could seek high office in the future, although his plans remain closely watched.
Full statement from Madeline Cuomo on ties to WDNY
The following statement from Madeline Cuomo was shared with DailyMail.com:
“In the spring of 2021, I was connected with members of We Decide New York who had come together organically online to stand up for my brother against the injustice done to him.
“I was in contact with several of these people informally who wanted to spread the truth that was not sought after by the mainstream media. I supported and encouraged their efforts to get to the truth.
“While I discussed with him the group’s desire to support a documentary project about my brother, this was the only time I discussed the organization with him. name, it was to make the band feel that their efforts were appreciated, but it wasn’t under my brother’s direction or to his knowledge.
“To be clear: I acted alone with the folks at WDNY and without my brother’s involvement in any way. Unfortunately, due to internal dissension, the group fractured.