Sunday 18 September 2022 07:20 AM NY governor hopeful Lee Zeldin calls for probe into $637M deal with Hochul ... trends now
During a campaign stop in New York City on Friday, the Republican nominee for governor in the Empire State Lee Zeldin called for a probe into sitting Gov. Kathy Hochul's apparent dodgy dealings.
In 2021, Hochul's administration inked a deal to buy 52 million Covid-19 Carestart tests for $637 million. At the same time, the state of California made a similar purchase but paid 45 percent less than New York, according to the Albany Times Union.
The report says that the price increase was because Hochul went through a campaign donor's company to facilitate the purchase. Whereas California went straight through the manufacturer, AccessBio.
The middleman company involved in the deal is named Digital Gadgets, which is based in northern New Jersey.
The company was founded in 2007 by Brooklyn native Charlie Tebele. In this election cycle, Digital Gadgets has donated $300,000 to the governor's campaign.
Republican candidate Lee Zeldin told the media on Friday: 'Kathy Hochul’s approach to this job is one of selling access in a way that even Andrew Cuomo would never even think of. This crosses all sorts of lines. And it must be investigated'
The official line from Gov. Kathy Hochul's office is that the governor was unaware that Digital Gadgets was a campaign donor
Digital Gadget was founded in 2007 by Brooklyn native Charlie Tebele, pictured here
Zeldin, who is currently in the House of Representatives, is taking on Hochul in the November general election and has the backing of Donald Trump.
His campaign made headlines last month when a man walked on stage during one of Zeldin's events with supporters and tried to stab him. Zeldin was unhurt and his attacker was arrested.
Tebele, along with family members, donated $70,000 prior to the contract being awarded and then another $227,000 after the deal went through.
Zeldin told the media during an appearance in Manhattan: 'Kathy Hochul’s campaign receives $300,000 from a donor, and then going around and circumventing New York’s competitive bidding laws, they end up agreeing to an over $600 million contract, paying over twice the going rate.'
Zeldin warned that it's not the first time that Hochul has engaged in such behavior.
He said: 'Kathy Hochul’s approach to this job is one of selling access in a way that even Andrew Cuomo would never even think of. This crosses all sorts of lines. And it must be investigated.'
Zeldin added: 'There are so many aspects of this $600 million COVID deal that I absolutely would not have signed off on.'
The official line from Hochul's office is that the governor was unaware that Digital Gadgets was a campaign donor when the contract was awarded.