Linda Lacewell, Cuomo’s top confidante, steps down state government job

ALBANY – Linda Lacewell, lawyer and former chief of staff to the ex-governor. Andrew M. Cuomo, resigned Tuesday as superintendent of the State Department of Financial Services.

Lacewell, who had also led Cuomo’s coronavirus task force, had led much of the administration’s work in the face of the pandemic, including decisions on reporting nursing home deaths that sparked an inquest from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, state health department sources said.

She has also been an integral part of the Executive Chamber’s response to allegations of sexual harassment that have engulfed him over the past nine months and which led to his resignation this week.

A 165-page report released by the Attorney General’s office that found Cuomo sexually harassed or inappropriately touched several women listed numerous cases in which Lacewell had been involved in researching and strategies to respond to accusers. Lacewell’s role was to explore the administration’s legal capacity to disclose copies of personnel files on Lindsey Boylan, one of the governor’s accusers.

Governor Kathy Hochul, who was sworn in on Tuesday, pledged earlier this month that anyone in the Cuomo administration who had engaged in unethical conduct as described in the attorney general’s report would not work for his administration.

Lacewell released a statement to his “DFS colleagues” on the department’s website on Tuesday – about 12 hours after Cuomo’s resignation took effect – saying it was “time for me to move on. and make room for new leadership “.

“We only have a moment to tell the difference,” his statement continued. “I am proud of the work we have accomplished together. Our accomplishments are many. A few stand out for me, but please know that I appreciate every achievement and your daily work to protect consumers, enforce the law and ensure safety. and the strength of the industry. ”

Lacewell listed a series of accomplishments that took place at DFS during his leadership.

“As the pandemic gripped the state, we took comprehensive action to help consumers suddenly get out of work and we strengthened the healthcare system. We have deferred health, life and home insurance premiums, mortgage payments and student loan payments. overdraft and credit card charges, ”she said. “We have expanded access to telehealth and mental health services, and we have suspended the rules and negotiated agreements to expand the critical capacity of hospitals. We have made COVID tests and vaccines free for policyholders. We have saved consumers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in health insurance premiums by reducing insurers’ rate hike proposals.

In 2015, Lacewell set up a program involving attorneys at two dozen state agencies to monitor administration activities, including reporting potentially troublesome Freedom of Information Act requests.

The program was designed as an “ethics, risk and compliance initiative” used to bring a model of private sector risk management to state agencies and public authorities. But the effort also included dealing with negative information about the administration.

Linda Lacewell, right, chief of staff to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, leaves a Manhattan federal courthouse on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, in New York City. Lacewell testified Wednesday at Joseph Percoco’s corruption trial. The opening statements came Tuesday during the trial of Percoco and three businessmen accused of paying him more than $ 300,000 in bribes to help them get what they had from the state. need. (AP Photo / Marie Altaffer)Marie Altaffer

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