NEWS & ANALYSIS

'DEFINITION OF CORRUPTION': De Blasio Calls for Investigation into Cuomo's Vaccine Czar

If you thought the Cuomo headlines were over, you thought wrong


If you thought the Cuomo headlines were over, you thought wrong. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called for an investigation Monday into the head of Cuomo’s vaccination program, who reportedly called county executives to gauge their support for the governor. 

The calls, made by Cuomo’s “vaccine czar” Larry Schwartz, reportedly made at least one county official fear that their response could jeopardize their county’s ability to get vaccines.

“What we’ve heard about the governor and his team trying to link vaccine supply to political support, that is the definition of corruption,” de Blasio said during a Monday press conference. “It is disgusting, it is dangerous. There are lives on the line, and it cannot be tolerated.” 

 The mayor went on to demand an investigation. 

“There needs to be now a full investigation of that, on top of the investigation of nursing home scandal, the investigation of sexual harassment and molestation,” de Blasio said. “There needs to be an investigation of what happened with the Tappan Zee Bridge, but now on top of it there needs to be an investigation of why a senior official in the governor’s office clearly tried to link vaccine supply to political support.” 

Three strikes and Cuomo’s out, perhaps?

The New York governor has been the subject of a seemingly endless thread of scandal over the last several months. First, his administration’s intentional withholding of data regarding the number of nursing home deaths. Then, six allegations of sexual misconduct. Now, a senior official seemingly putting pressure on county executives into supporting the scandal-ridden governor. 

The icing on the cake: Cuomo is facing pressure following an investigation by the Albany Times Union that construction of a new bridge named after Cuomo’s father has “structural safety problems” and that the private construction company potentially covered up problems with broken bolts, Fox News reports

When asked if he fears that his city could face vaccine supply punishment, de Blasio seemed to be unphased. 

“I’ll tell you something, he better not call me because I’ll tell him what he can do with that,” de Blasio said. “No, it’s unacceptable and we are not going to stand for it. And if we see any effort to reduce the vaccine supply to New York City as political retribution we will bring it right out into the open.” 

Schwartz, though admitting to calling officials, said he did nothing wrong. 

“I did have conversations with a number of county executives from across the state to ascertain if they were maintaining their public position that there is an ongoing investigation by the State Attorney General and that we should wait for the findings of that investigation before drawing any conclusions,” he said. 

“Nobody indicated that they were uncomfortable or that they did not want to talk to me,” he added.