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Albany scandal over who knew about secret vote

Nov 21, 2019 12:47 am
Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that the latest scandal in Albany concerns the state Joint Commission on Public Ethics, where in January, a member of the commission alleges that someone knew about her secret executive session vote. Julie A. Garcia, a former Essex County district attorney, was appointed to JCOPE by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. The Times Union is now reporting that Howard Vargas, Heastie's executive counsel, is the person who contacted Garcia. “I was alarmed when I was contacted so quickly after that (January) meeting,” Garcia said last week. “I was being told the governor knew how I voted in executive session, even though I was unable to confirm whether or not the information was accurate.” The panel voted that day whether to investigate Joseph Percoco, a former top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Times Union is also reporting that Cuomo and Heastie were never interviewed by the state inspector general's office as part of its nine-month investigation of the alleged leak. On Nov. 19 Michael Whyland, a spokesman for Heastie, said Vargas called Garcia "without the speaker’s knowledge. We don’t know what motivated him to make the call." Read more about this story in the Times Union.