ANDREW Cuomo’s “vaccine czar” Larry Schwartz called New York officials to test their loyalty to the governor amid harassment claims.
Multiple county officials in the state have reportedly claimed that Schwartz contacted them over the past two weeks to gauge their loyalty to Cuomo as he faces multiple claims of sexual harassment.
Cuomo’s ‘vaccine czar’ was reportedly making calls to county officials to gauge their loyalty to the governorCredit: AFP or licensors
Larry Schwartz denied that he was attempting to intimate county executivesCredit: AP:Associated Press
Schwartz, who is an advisor to Cuomo and is head of the state’s vaccine rollout, made one county official so uncomfortable that they filed a notice of an impending ethics complaint with the state attorney general’s office, according to the Washington Post.
The executive, whose name was not given, told the outlet that they feared their county’s vaccine supply would be affected if they did not tell Schwartz what he wanted to hear.
“At best, it was inappropriate,” the executive said. “At worst, it was clearly over the ethical line.”
When asked about the allegations, Schwartz told the outlet that he did make calls to county executives, but denied that he was attempting to intimidate anyone, and said vaccine distribution was not discussed.
Schwartz said that he was speaking to officials about the investigation into Cuomo, not vaccination effortsCredit: AP:Associated Press
People line up at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to get the Covid vaccineCredit: Splash News
“I did nothing wrong,” Schwartz said. “I have always conducted myself in a manner commensurate to a high ethical standard.”
He also insisted that the calls were “cordial, respectful and friendly” and that “nobody indicated that the were uncomfortable.”
“I did have conversations with a number of County Executives from across the State to ascertain if they were maintaining their public position that there is an ongoing investigation by the State Attorney General and that we should wait for the findings of that investigation before drawing any conclusions,” Schwartz told The Post.
This comes after seven women, including several former staff members, came forward with sexual harassment claims against Gov Cuomo.
County executives were reportedly concerned that Schwartz would tamper with their vaccination effortsCredit: AP:Associated Press
Many prominent Democrats are also calling for the governor to step down amid an ongoing investigation into the claims by New York’s attorney general.
Cuomo’s governor job appears to be hanging by a thread after at least 121 members of the state Assembly and Senate called on him to quit, according to a tally by The Associated Press.
Cuomo, however, has maintained that he will not quit and that he is awaiting the results of the attorney general’s probe.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to call for the governor to step down, even as many of her colleagues have done so.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to call on Cuomo to resignCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Pelosi on Sunday said that the women who have made sexual harassment allegations against the New York Democratic should be believed, but failed to join the growing list demanding he step down.
President Joe Biden also refused to call on Cuomo to resign when asked about the allegations on Sunday, pointing to the ongoing probe into the governor.
Former Cuomo staffer Lindsay Boylan was the first woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment, claiming he asked her to play “strip poker” once, and kissed her without consent another time.
Cuomo has denied the allegations.
Another former staffer, Charlotte Bennett, alleged that Cuomo sexually propositioned her, telling her he was “lonely” and he wanted a girlfriend and was willing to sleep with a younger woman.
Another two former staffers, Ana Liss and Karen Hinton, also made allegations of unwanted attention from Cuomo.
The latest allegation, that Cuomo “groped an aide under her shirt” has been reported to police.
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