Andrew Cuomo’s ex-girlfriend, Sandra Lee, issued words of ‘healing’ and ‘peace’ to her social media followers just hours after the New York Governor was accused of sexual harassment by a former aide for the second time.
Lee, an Emmy-award winning Food Network chef who dated Cuomo for more than 14-years, wrote to Instagram on Saturday night: ‘Sending everyone peace and loving healing regards from Malibu! The best sunsets ever thank God for the Ocean!’
The 54-year-old’s post came in the wake of a bombshell New York Times report, in which Cuomo’s 25-year-old former aide, Charlotte Bennett, accused him of asking her inappropriate personal question at work, including whether she had monogamous relationships and if she dated older men.
Bennett’s accusations followed closely on the heels of similar claims made by another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, who accused Cuomo, 63, of attempting to kiss her on the mouth while they were alone in his New York City office back in 2018.
The latest acts of harassment, according to Bennett, occurred during the height of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, just months after he split with Lee in the fall of 2019.
Sandra Lee (left) dated Cuomo for more than 14 years. They started their relationship just months after the now New York Gov. finalized his divorce from Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy
Lee’s Instagram post came hours after a bombshell New York Times report outlined claims of sexual harassment from a former aide for the second time
Charlotte Bennett (left), 25, accused Cuomo of sexually harassing her during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in his Albany office, including quizzing her about dating older men. Lindsey Boylan (right) accused him of attempting to kiss her on the mouth in 2018
In addition to her claims that Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life, Bennett also told the Times that the governor once allegedly disclosed to her during a June meeting in his office in Albany that he was ‘so lonely’ and appeared to be hinting for her to embrace him.
The former aide did state that Cuomo never made an attempt to touch her but told her he ‘can’t even hug anyone’.
Bennett says she said she missed hugging her parents, to which she claims he said: ‘No, I mean like really hugged somebody?’
Bennett told the New York Times: ‘I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.
‘And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.’
Lindsay Boylan – a Democratic candidate for Manhattan borough president – previously accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in a series of December tweets, accusing him of ‘abusing his power’.
She later followed up on those claims in an essay published to Medium earlier this week, where she alleged Cuomo kissed her ‘on the lips’ without warning inside his Manhattan office in 2018.
Bennett (right) also told the New York Times that the governor once allegedly disclosed to her during a June meeting in his office in Albany that he was ‘so lonely’ and appeared to be hinting for her to hug him
Lindsay Boylan – a Democratic candidate for Manhattan borough president – previously accused Cuomo of sexual harassment in a series of December tweets, and followed up on those accusations in an essay this week
Boylan also claims he asked her to play strip poker on a flight in 2017.
‘I should have been shocked by the Governor’s crude comment, but I wasn’t,’ Boylan wrote of the governor’s request. ‘I tried to excuse his behavior. I told myself ‘it’s only words.’
But that changed after a one-on-one briefing with the Governor to update him on economic and infrastructure projects.
‘We were in his New York City office on Third Avenue. As I got up to leave and walk toward an open door, he stepped in front of me and kissed me on the lips. I was in shock, but I kept walking.
‘After that, my fears worsened. I came to work nauseous every day,’ Boylan wrote.
Responding to the allegations made by Bennett on Saturday, Cuomo said: ‘I never made advances toward Ms. Bennett nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.
‘The last thing I would ever have wanted was to make her feel any of the things that are being reported.’
The governor yesterday promised an independent review by former federal judge – appointed by Bill Clinton – Barbara Jones into the allegations against him.
While Lee’s post didn’t speak directly to the mounting controversy regarding Cuomo, she has previously said they are still in regular contact, despite their split more than a year ago.
‘He’s still my guy. Neither one of us, well as far as I know, has had a date,’ she told the Today show last year, at around the same time Cuomo allegedly came on to Bennett.
Cuomo and Lee first met after being introduced by a mutual friend during a cocktail party in the Hamptons
Cuomo pictured with his girlfriend of 14-years Sandra Lee, and his three daughters, Michaela (left), Maria (near right), Cara Kennedy Cuomo (far right) in 2018
Cuomo and Lee first began dating in 2005, just months after his divorce to Kerry Kennedy, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, was finalized.
The pair first met after being introduced by a mutual friend during a cocktail party in the Hamptons.
Over the course of the 14-year courtship, they moved in together and regularly spoke lovingly of one another in the press.
Lee has been quoted as saying that she and Cuomo never fought and that he was especially laid-back and mellow – a stark contrast to the way he was described during his bitter divorce.
However, in September 2019, the couple issued a joint statement to announce they were breaking up.
The end of their relationship followed more than a year of speculation, with the couple listing their Mount Kisco home for sale, and Lee skipping two major gubernational events in the months leading up to the announcement.
One of the skipped events was Cuomo’s State of the State address – the first time Lee was not by his side for an address since he was elected governor of New York.
‘Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship,’ the pair wrote in their statement.
‘We will always be family and are fully supportive of each other and dedicated to the girls. Our personal lives remain personal and there will be no further comment.’
Lee is an Emmy Award-winning Food Network host. She has previously described Cuomo as laidback and mellow
In her post to Instagram, Lee shared an imafe of a Malibu beach, concluding ‘The best sunsets ever thank God for the Ocean!’
Lee and Cuomo shared a home together in Mount Kisco, NY, (above) which was sold last year
Cuomo and Lee reportedly ended on amicable terms, however the chef spoke out about her heartbreak in December last year, when hers and the governor’s home in sold.
‘Today will be one of the saddest days of my life,’ she wrote on December 14. ‘Today is the day that I do the final move out from Lily Pond. I love that house and I have a personal relationship with every single room of that home. I hope the new owners take care of it as well as I did and I will love it forever. #thehousethatbuiltme.
In a later posting she wrote, ‘My last moments on Lily Pond were very BitterSweet. I walked around the outside of my beautiful home —I wanted to drink in every angle and remember the beautiful moments that were spent in every place.’
Lee is also said to be in regular contact with Cuomo’s three daughters, Michaela, Maria and Cara Kennedy Cuomo.