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The state attorney general is now investigating whether Gov. Cuomo’s COVID-19 vaccine czar pressured county leaders to support the embattled governor, holding out access to the life-saving jab in the process.
Two Democratic county executives told 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,” said one county executive, describing an hour-long Zoom call with two investigators and an assistant from the attorney general’s office.
The executive, who said 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.
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 said 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.”
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