Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Larry Schwartz, a staunch ally of disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, will resign from his position at the MTA, Governor Kathy Hochul’s office announced Thursday, Oct. 7.
Schwartz will step down from the board when the State Senate confirms a replacement for him, likely when legislators return to Albany in January.
“Larry Schwartz will be resigning, effective when the Senate confirms his replacement, and the Governor is grateful for his public service,” Hochul spokesperson Hazel Crampton-Hays said in a statement.
The rep said Hochul will reach out to advocates for input on who to appoint to the transit panel.
The governor hinted on Wednesday that she would rid her administration of people cited in the bombshell August sexual harassment report by state Attorney General Letitia James, which prompted Cuomo to ultimately step down on Aug. 23. Hochul, then the lieutenant governor, ascended to the governorship on Aug. 24.
“To ensure that the MTA Board is accountable to riders and represents the voices of New Yorkers, our administration will be soliciting input from advocates, impacted communities, and experts on candidates to fill the open seats on the board, and we look forward to working with the legislature to confirm those appointments at the next legislative session and deliver the modernization, reliability, and enhancements New Yorkers deserve,” Crampton-Hays’s statement continued.
At an unrelated press conference Thursday, Hochul claimed Schwartz offered to resign himself, rather than her asking him to leave.
“He offered to resign, he offered from the very beginning that if I wanted to bring in a new team, and we’ve been focused on cabinet positions and other positions, I’m shifting my attention to board positions now,” the governor said. “I thank him for his service he continues to be a voice of someone who knows the positions of New York State.”
She previously said that Schwartz was “not part of my administration” when asked about his future in government last month.
Schwartz has served on the MTA’s board since 2015 and up until April volunteered as Cuomo’s “vaccine czar,” tasked with distributing the life-saving shots to local governments across the Empire State.
During that time, Schwartz was directed by Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa to call county executives across the state to gauge their support for the scandal-scarred governor amid mounting sexual harassment allegations, according to the AG’s probe.
He previously served as secretary to Cuomo in 2011 as well as former Governor David Paterson before that, and became chief strategy officer of the airport concessions company OTG in 2015, a firm which recently drew scrutiny for charging sky-high prices at terminals for products like beer and fries.
An MTA spokesman said it was “useful” for Hochul to people on the board in the coming months amid mounting challenges as the transit system recovers from the pandemic.
“Under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the MTA board is operating in a collaborative manner and in light of serious challenges, financial and otherwise, faced by the Authority, it is useful to have as close to a full roster as possible of Board members,” said Tim Minton in a statement.
Schwartz did not respond to a request for comment.