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Pair from Medicaid agency awarded hundreds of thousands in NY contracts sent $300K in donations to Hochul, Cuomo



A couple with ties to a business that is been awarded hundreds of thousands and thousands in Medicaid transportation contracts above the many years has driven extra than $300,000 mixed into the campaign coffers of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo and present-day Gov. Kathy Hochul, records reviewed by The Submit expose.

Critics say the donations are a textbook scenario of Albany’s fork out-to-enjoy tradition that allows bidders and contractors to give huge marketing campaign contributions to the governor whose organizations oversee them. By comparison, New York Town law limits donations from bidders and contractors to the mayor and have enterprise Significant Apple agencies to $400.

The firm, Clinical Answering Solutions, started by president Russ Maxwell in 2004, was awarded 8 contracts totaling $403.7 million by the condition Wellbeing Division from 2011 by means of 2018. Four of the contracts do not expire until eventually subsequent yr.

Maxwell and his spouse, Morgan McDole, dropped $236,000 into Cuomo’s campaign coffers above these a long time.

The few has also dumped more than $100,000 combined into the campaign coffers of Hochul, as governor and lieutenant governor under Cuomo — and the Hochul-controlled point out Democratic Committee.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at New York's Yankee Stadium on July 26, 2021.
Previous Gov. Andrew Cuomo gained $236,000 in marketing campaign donations from the pair around the decades.
AP/Richard Drew

McDole, for instance, gave a few contributions totaling $52,600 to Hochul in excess of the earlier 12 months — $22,600 on Jan. 8, 2021, $10,000 on Sept. 9, 2021 shortly after she turned governor and $20,000 on April 24 of this year.

McDole donated a further $20,000 to the Hochul-affected condition Democratic Bash on April 27 of this yr.

In the meantime, Maxwell has donated $32,100 to Hochul due to the fact 2018 and $176,000 to Cuomo all through his tenure. McDole donated a further $60,000 to Cuomo.

“It’s a excellent instance that demonstrates how lax condition campaign finance laws are,” claimed John Kaehny, director of the federal government watchdog team Reinvent Albany.

“It seems like pay to perform. It destroys general public trust in federal government. New York City authorities is way head of the state on this.”

Senate Elections Committee Chairman Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) handed a monthly bill that would ban campaign contributions all through a bidding system and 6 months soon after an award was presented to a profitable bidder. But the legislation stalled in the point out Assembly.

“New York State’s purse is significant. Any bidder trying to get taxpayer dollars really should be cost-free of political affect,” Myrie said.

“The proposal is about restoring have confidence in in the bidding process that has been missing.  The recent program appears to be like persons have to give campaign donations to grease the wheels. It is unacceptable.”

A rep for Maxwell insisted that the contractor and his spouse’s donations ended up not linked to the contracts his business was awarded. The 8 contracts vary from $15 million to $120 million to present transportation to Medicaid recipients in all parts of the condition, which includes New York Town, data with the comptroller’s office demonstrate.

“Russ Maxwell has been involved in state and regional politics for a lot more than 30 several years, which include a operate for Condition Assembly in 1992. He’s supported quite a few candidates and political leads to in excess of the years,” stated Maxwell spokesman Patrick McCarthy.

“Russ and his spouse supported former Gov. Cuomo’s attempts to legalize homosexual relationship in New York, and he’s recognized Gov. Hochul for a long time dating back to her times on the Hamburg City Board, and as [Erie] County Clerk. Russ supports candidates for office environment who have a vision for New York’s upcoming, that long term is critical to Russ, his family members, and the hundreds of males and women who get the job done at MAS.”

The rep also reported that Maxwell has helped the state attain cost savings and efficiencies in New York’s highest-in-the-country $92.7 billion Medicaid funds, which presents publicly-funded wellness insurance coverage coverage to the needy.

Prior to the very first condition contract award, Maxwell’s contributions had been far more modest. For illustration, he gave two contributions to gubernatorial prospect Eliot Spitzer for $1,000 and $500 in 2005.

Subsequently, Maxwell donated $25,000 to Cuomo’s marketing campaign committee on July 9, 2012 and he ongoing to make extra fat contributions to Cuomo as more contracts ended up renewed or awarded.

Hochul and Cuomo, both equally criticized for their aggressive fundraising of persons with enterprise in advance of the state, insisted they’re not motivated by marketing campaign donations.

“Consistent with Governor Hochul’s determination to manage higher ethical criteria, marketing campaign contributions have no influence on government choices,” stated Hochul’s marketing campaign spokesman Jerrel Harvey.

Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi claimed, “Can’t talk to how matters are at the moment, but contracting was normally accomplished on the agency level – period. The two unmovable regulations in Albany are that critics like to criticize and like studying their names in the paper.”

The Well being Department explained Maxwell’s firm was awarded contracts on the deserves immediately after aggressive bidding — without having involvement from the governor’s business.

“The Department of Well being has contracted with this vendor for much more than a 10 years to present vital transportation providers to Medicaid sufferers and, following a competitive bidding course of action, awarded this vendor a procurement authorized under the State Fiscal Yr 2020-21 Spending plan to provide nonemergency clinical transportation brokerage administration expert services for New Yorkers enrolled in the Medicaid plan,” mentioned condition Well being Office spokesman Cort Ruddy.

“The procurement evaluated each complex and value concerns as outlined in the RFP and in accordance with Condition Finance Legislation. The Government Chamber does not give input on procurements managed by the Department and had no involvement in the variety of the awardee.”

Hochul has confronted scrutiny for renewing a condition of unexpected emergency for COVID-19 for months that has suspended state paying for regulations which, the Occasions Union a short while ago documented, permit a quick screening company identified as Electronic Devices — led by a marketing campaign donor — safe $637 million in no-bid small business from the point out Section of Health considering the fact that December.

The owner of the company, Charlie Tebele, and his family members, have provided approximately $300,000 to Hochul as she operates for election to her article from Republican gubernatorial nominee Rep. Lee Zeldin.

Hochul has also collected significant contributions from other other firms with business enterprise prior to the state — cannabis operators, movie organizations, on line casino operators and the authentic estate sector.

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