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Reports: Andrew Cuomo vaccine czar's loyalty calls raise concerns

Larry Schwartz told the Washington Post he did not discuss vaccines in the conversations. He said he 'did nothing wrong.'

ALBANY, N.Y. — Published reports say a longtime adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo leading the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been calling county executives to gauge their loyalty to the Democratic governor amid a sexual harassment investigation.

The Washington Post and The New York Times report that one Democratic county executive was so disturbed by the call from vaccine “czar” Larry Schwartz that the executive filed notice of an impending ethics complaint with the public integrity unit of the state attorney general’s office.

Schwartz told the Washington Post he did not discuss vaccines in the conversations. He said he "did nothing wrong."

BETH GARVEY, ACTING COUNSEL TO THE GOVERNOR 

Beth Garvey, Acting Counsel to Governor Cuomo issued this statement on Monday. 

"Vaccine distribution in New York is based on objective criteria to ensure it matches eligible populations, ensure equity, and ability to rapidly administer shots in arms. To be clear, Larry's conversations did not bring up vaccine distribution -- he would never link political support to public health decisions.  Distorting Larry's role or intentions for headlines maligns a decades long public servant who has done nothing but volunteer around the clock since March to help New York get through the COVID pandemic.  Any suggestion that Larry 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."