ALBANY, N.Y. — An aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo who is heading up the state’s vaccine rollout has called local officials to gauge their loyalty to the beleaguered governor, according to multiple reports on Sunday.
Larry Schwartz, who has filled several supportive roles for the Cuomo administration over the years, has rattled local leaders across the state with his outreach, according to The Washington Post and The New York Times.
An unnerved Democratic county executive who received one of these calls filed notice of an impending ethics complaint with the public integrity unit of the state attorney general’s office on Friday.
The executive reportedly was concerned that the county’s vaccine supply would be affected if they did not express support for the governor.
Background: Schwartz was enlisted to assist in the state’s Covid-19 response last year. He has been involved in the state’s efforts to acquire medical equipment and supplies and more recently has been serving as a point of contact for the governor’s office and localities to streamline the state’s vaccine rollout.
He has long been regarded as a mouthpiece for the administration in both formal and informal circumstances, including the kind of strongly worded phone calls that have characterized the governor and his staff members.
Why Larry? Cuomo is in political free fall after six women have accused him of inappropriate behavior or misconduct, and as more anecdotes of harassment and bullying within his administration continue to emerge. The allegations of sexual harassment are being investigated by the state attorney general and a state Assembly committee, and have prompted calls for his resignation from many of the state’s top Democrats in both New York and Washington, D.C. Cuomo has said he will not resign.