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NYS Ethics commission issues subpoena concerning Cuomo’s pandemic ‘volunteers’

The New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (NYS JCOPE) has issued a subpoena to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office seeking records related to former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s time in office. They’re interested in information concerning volunteers who assisted Cuomo during his COVID-19 pandemic response.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

One such volunteer is Larry Schwartz, who served as “vaccine czar” under Cuomo and was responsible for distributing vaccines across the state, according to the Albany Times-Union. Notably, Schwartz served under Cuomo while maintaining his position as chief strategy officer at OTG Management, an airport concessions company, prompting concerns over conflicts of interest.

Cuomo issued an executive order at the beginning of the pandemic that made COVID-19 volunteers exempt from rules that require state employees to file financial disclosures, among other ethical provisions.

JCOPE Commissioner Gary Lavine said the subpoena would seek a list of people who were designated as volunteers, all volunteers with expressly indicated conflicts of interest, and the arrangements made at the time for dealing with those conflicts.