Two Democratic county executives revealed to The Post Saturday they had been contacted by state investigators in March over Larry Schwartz, a longtime aide to Governor Cuomo who is overseeing the vaccine rollout.
“Yes, it was a formal interview,” recalled one county executive, describing an hour-long Zoom call with two investigators and an assistant from the attorney general’s office.
The executive, who confirmed he was not under oath during the interview, was asked to give the investigators phone records and text messages.
Schwartz, a former secretary to the governor, canvassed state county officials in March to gauge their loyalty to Cuomo, according to reports. New York Attorney General Tish James is already investigating Cuomo, who has been accused of sexual harassment by multiple women — allegations he has vigorously denied.
Lindsey Boylan, one of his accusers, condemned Schwartz in a tweet Saturday.
“Larry Schwartz is not a public servant,” she wrote. “He is an enforcer who represents the worst of @NYGovCuomo’s corrupt administration. Linking life-saving vaccine access to political support for the governor is a criminal abuse of power.”
In March, a county executive told the New York Times the conversation with Schwartz came immediately after a call from another state official about the vaccination effort.
Schwartz, who is also an MTA board member, urged the official to reserve judgment on the allegations against the governor until the conclusion of James’ investigation, and to keep him in the loop about their thoughts about the matter.
Schwartz openly acknowledged the phone blitz to county executives, according to reports, but insisted he had done “nothing wrong” and that his conversations were “cordial, respectful and friendly.”
A spokesman for Cuomo denied any links between Schwartz’s calls and vaccine distribution in the state.
“To be clear, Larry’s conversations did not bring up vaccine distribution,” Rich Azzopardi told The Post. “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.”
This all, as a coalition of New York City clergy and minority activists urge Gov. Cuomo to stop using them as political “props” and designate houses of worship as “essential,” letting them operate as long-term COVID-19 vaccination sites and community health centers.
“We’re not just going to be pop-ups. We’re not going to be props,” said Black Institute CEO Bertha Lewis, referring to Cuomo holding closed-press COVID “press conferences” at sites in Harlem and other minority neighborhoods.
“Stop doing this to us. We’re not a `pop-up’ community,” Lewis demanded. “We’re tired of being treated as props and pawns by Governor Cuomo. …. He only shows up at black and brown churches when he wants a photo op. Enough is enough.”