NEW YORK (WKBW) — According to a report from the Albany Times Union, the New York State Department of Health is awarding a multi-billion dollar state contract to a company owned by a campaign donor to Governor Kathy Hochul.
The report says Russ Maxwell, president and owner of the Syracuse-based company Medical Answering Services, confirmed in an interview that he won the bid. The contract is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion annually over five years.
According to the Albany Times Union, Medical Answering Services will serve as a "broker," arranging rides to medical appointments for Medicaid patients.
The report details the contributions Maxwell, and his husband Morgan McDole, have allegedly made to the Hochul campaign:
- "Maxwell spent $4,500 to pay for food, catering and flowers for a Hochul fundraiser. In addition, Maxwell gave Hochul an additional $10,000 that day, and his husband Morgan McDole, gave $20,000."
- "Three days later, Maxwell gave $10,000 and McDole $20,000 to the state Democratic Party."
- "While Hochul was lieutenant governor, Maxwell and McDole donated nearly $54,000 to her campaign."
- "Since Hochul became governor in August, the couple has donated more than $81,000 to Hochul’s campaign."
According to the Albany Times Union, the contract has not been formally executed by the Department of Health and Maxwell said he never spoke to Hochul about the contract.
7 News reached out to both the Hochul campaign and the NYSDOH about the report. The following statements were provided:
“Consistent with Governor Hochul's commitment to maintain high ethical standards, campaign contributions have no influence on government decisions."
"The Department of Health has contracted with this vendor for more than a decade to provide critical transportation services to Medicaid patients and, after a competitive bidding process, awarded this vendor a procurement authorized under the State Fiscal Year 2020-21 Budget to provide nonemergency medical transportation brokerage management services for New Yorkers enrolled in the Medicaid program. The procurement evaluated both technical and cost considerations as outlined in the RFP and in accordance with State Finance Law. The Executive Chamber does not provide input on procurements managed by the Department and had no involvement in the selection of the awardee.”