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Snippet of Up First: Cuomo Aid Accused of Suppressing Complaints Against Him

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An aid to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been accused of trying to suppress complaints about the Governor.
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all right. New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo, has yet another political problem. Yes, this one has to do with one of his advisers, who has been calling local officials in New York state in what seems to be an attempt to see if they're loyal to the governor. Cuomo has been accused of sexual misconduct by six women, and U. S attorney and the FBI are also investigating whether his administration undercounted the number of people in nursing homes who died of Covid. 19. NPR's Sally, her ships has been covering Governor Cuomo. Hey, Sally, Hey, who is this advisor to the governor that's been making phone calls? This advisor is Larry Schwartz. He's also known as New York's Vaccines Are. He's the man in charge of distributing vaccines to New Yorkers. The story was first reported by The Washington Post, but several county officials confirmed to NPR that he has been calling local officials to feel other loyalty to the governor. Mark Molinaro is president of the New York State County Executive Association. He says in the eyes of these local officials, Schwartz's calls were troubling and that after receiving the calls, 3 to 4 executives contacted him or his staff to express their concern and discussed. Here's Molinaro these calls would be made at all was troubling that they were made by the individual responsible for really, with a great deal of discretion. Distribution of vaccines was extremely disturbing to them. These calls were coming at a time when support was crumbling for Cuomo. State congressional Democrats were abandoning him, and by last Friday evening, the two U. S senators from New York, both Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer had both come out and called for Cuomo's resignation. What are the officials who got the calls saying, Yeah, the officials I spoke to told me it would have been one thing if it was the chair of the Democratic Party who had been making the calls, but that is not who was making them. They were made by the guy who oversees vaccine distribution for the state of New York, and that is a problem. One official, who we're not naming because he's afraid of retaliation from the governor's office, told me that he and other local county leaders were terrified that the implicit threat was clear. If you spoke out against the governor, they were worried that their access to the vaccine would be cut off. Has the governor's office said anything? Well? I received an emailed statement written by Beth Gharbi, acting counsel to the governor. It was mostly focused on the involvement of Larry Schwartz. It said that he had been working night and day throughout the pandemic, and that quote, any suggestion that he acted in any way, unethically or in any way other than in the best interests of New Yorkers is false. Okay, so at this point, these are reports these are claims they have yet to be sort of validated. But I mean bigger picture here. This is arguably kind of how the Cuomo administration operates or has operated in the past. Yeah, it's worth noting that some of the women who say they were harassed and whose complaints are being investigated by the state attorney general say that treatment was part of a larger climate of bullying and the workplace. And Schwartz, in trying to contain the governor's mess, is now being accused of something similar to bullying. Cuomo has a reputation for being controlling and intimidating in the workplace and also having friction with a politician he deals with and this includes Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York. I contacted the attorney general's office, and they are not saying yet if this will be another investigation into the Cuomo administration. NPR's Sally her ships in New York Thanks, Sally.
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