Bello says Cuomo should resign, says he was called by NYS vaccine head to gauge 'position' on governor | WHEC.com

Bello says Cuomo should resign, says he was called by NYS vaccine head to gauge 'position' on governor

Berkeley Brean
Created: March 15, 2021 06:51 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Another layer to the governor's problems brought the head of the state Republican Party to the steps of the Monroe County Office Building Monday morning.

And Monroe County Executive Adam Bello called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign. 

Nick Langworthy stood outside Bello's office demanding to know if Bello was called by the head of the state's vaccine distribution program to gauge where Bello stands with the governor politically.

The head of vaccine distribution for New York, Larry Schwartz, called at least six of the eight democratic county executives in New York recently. 

The New York Times and Washington Post report one of the executives was so upset by the call, they filed a complaint with the state attorney general. The attorney general's office did not answer our questions email Monday. 

Bello says he was called by Schwartz two Sundays ago and Monday he called for the governor's resignation. 

"County Executive Adam Bello needs to come forward and speak the truth. He needs to address the media. Not hide behind a statement," Langworthy said. 

In his statement Monday Bello said the day after he called for an investigation into allegations against the governor, Schwartz called and "asked about my position, and I pointed him to my statement. That was the end of the conversation. At no time did I feel any pressure and the topic of vaccines never came up."

Monday's statement went on to say because of the distractions of allegations "I believe the time has come for Governor Cuomo to resign."

Brean: "[Bello] says that was it for the conversation and today he says he's called for the governor's resignation. So what more do you want?"

Nick Langworthy, Chair NYS Republican Party: "I hadn't read that he had ever called for the governor's resignation. Had he done that?"

Brean: "It's in his statement today."

Langworthy: "Today [Monday]. So he's now called for his resignation. So I'm glad we could get an answer out of the county executive. So I guess my work here has been fruitful."

Larry Schwartz was the governor's top aide for approximately five years. 

Monday, I learned he called the democratic county executive's in Erie, Broome, Nassau, Suffolk and Albany County. 

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy was asked if Schwartz called him about the governor. 

"Briefly," McCoy said at a news conference Monday. "You know, asked where I stood. And I think I answered that question." 

McCoy says he's called for an independent investigation into the allegations against the governor. 

Nassau County Executive Lauran Curran's statement on the topic:

"I have had many conversations with Larry Schwartz over the past year including last week.   At no time did I feel that vaccine allocation was being connected to support for the Governor."

Statement from Broome County Executive Jason Garnar:

"During the last year of the pandemic I have had hundreds of phone calls with state officials, including Larry Schwartz, working with them to coordinate the response to COVID-19. At no time did any state official ask for my support for the governor in exchange for help with the pandemic." 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone told TV station Bronx News 12, "Last Friday, I had a conversation with Larry Schwartz who reached out to discuss whether I was supportive of the governor. I explained that there were serious allegations made and that I was supportive of an independent investigation. At no point did the topic of vaccine distribution come up during the call."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz's press secretary wrote in an email. "their conversations have been all vaccine-related. Mr. Schwartz knows that the County Executive has already called for an investigation into the allegations against the Governor and is still advocating for that investigation."

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan's office did not respond to my phone call. On Sunday, Ryan released a statement which included, "Governor Cuomo should do the right thing and resign, enabling our state to begin to heal and move forward."

In early December, Governor Cuomo announced Schwartz was running the state's vaccine distribution. 

"He's probably one of the most skilled government officials I've ever worked with," Cuomo said on Dec. 2, 2020. 

Monday, the governor's briefing on Long Island was closed to reporters so he did not get any questions. 

He did get support from people invited to talk. 

Tracey Edwards, NAACP Long Island Regional Director: "So governor, thank you for being here. You stay continuing to lead us through this crisis because we need you."

Statement from Beth Garvey, acting counsel to the governor:

"Vaccine distribution in New York is based on objective criteria to ensure it matches eligible populations, ensure equity, and ability to rapidly administer shots in arms. To be clear, Larry's conversations did not bring up vaccine distribution -- 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.  Any suggestion that Larry acted in any way unethically or in any way other than in the best interest of the New Yorkers that he selflessly served is patently false." 


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