NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Cuomo administration is dealing with a new controversy.
As the sexual harassment investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to intensify, Larry Schwartz, a longtime adviser to the governor who is also heading New York’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, is accused of making calls to county executives, questioning their loyalty to the governor.READ MORE: Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer Join Calls For Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Resignation
The county executives’ allegations of possible ethics violations by Schwartz came out in a report in The Washington Post, co-written by investigative reporter Amy Brittain.
“Asking things like, you know, are you willing to say that, that we should wait to see the results of the Attorney General investigation,” Brittain said.
“Did they say they felt threatened?” CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez asked.
“They did not feel it was an explicit threat, but … they were wondering, you know, what if I give the wrong answer? Is the vaccine supply for my county going to be affected, given the immense amount of power that this man has over a very precious commodity in New York?”
Schwartz admitted to the Post that he made the calls to gauge political support but said they were separate from his role in the vaccination effort and he “did nothing wrong.”
He added he made the calls on his own, not by the direction of the governor.READ MORE: TIMELINE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Under Investigation For Nursing Home Deaths, Sexual Harassment Allegations
Beth Garvey, Acting Counsel to the Governor, released the following statement in response to the report —
“Larry answered our call to volunteer in March and has since then worked night and day to help New York through this pandemic, first managing surge capacity, and procuring necessary supplies for the state, setting up the contact tracing efforts, and now assisting with vaccine distribution. Any suggestion that he acted in any way unethically or in any way other than in the best interest of the New Yorkers that he selflessly served is patently false.”
Six women have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment and/or inappropriate behavior. The governor denies the allegations and continues to reject calls for his resignation.
Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to call on Cuomo to step down.
“He doesn’t have any credibility. So I think an impeachment proceeding will begin, and I think he will be impeached, and perhaps right before that, he’ll decide to resign. That’s probably the most likely outcome right now, but I gotta tell you something, he should resign right now because he’s holding up our effort to fight COVID,” he said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand also addressed the allegations Sunday.
“Because of the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it’s clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners, as well as the people of New York,” she said.MORE NEWS: Cuomo Says He Will Not Resign As Sens. Schumer, Gillibrand, Reps. Nadler, Ocasio-Cortez And More Call For Him To Step Down
The Washington Post says one Democratic county executive filed a notice of an impending ethics complaint with the state Attorney General’s office.