ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul becomes governor, William Hochul will become the first gentlemen. Some are raising concerns of potential conflict of interests he may have due to his current role as counsel and senior vice president of hospitality and gaming company, Delaware North.
“Delaware North has a wide-range of services that they provide, many of which are covered by the State of New York,” said New York Public Interest Research Group Executive Director Blair Horner.
Horner said William Hochul’s position could create a conflict of interest.
“[Kathy Hochul] has to do everything that she can to make sure that risk is minimized and hopefully eliminated,” Horner said.
NEWS10ABC reached out to Hochul’s Office. In a statement she said, “We are very accustomed in my household to have a clear separation of responsibilities and to not let any work conflicts arise, and my husband will do the right thing as he’s always done. We’ll continue the recusal policy that we’ve had since I was lieutenant governor.”
“We all know, words are only words. What you really want is somebody who independent reviewing the situation and making an official opinion,” said Horner.
Horner said Lieutenant Governor Hochul should meet with the Joint Commission on Public Ethics to eliminate any potential conflicts between her administration and Delaware North and make those findings public.
“Bill Hochul is very well-known and well respected. There’s always going to be conflict of interests. It’s important, the thing about conflict of interests is, number one, recognize it and then two disclose it,” said Assemblyman John McDonald.
McDonald is working on a bill to make required disclosure forms easily available and also require lawmakers to put the form on their website.
“Here has been the fundamental issue of the ethical failings of indivduals. The public keeps electing individuals and has no idea who they are,” McDonald said.
Horner said being transparent is important now more than ever due to the shadow cast by her predecessor.
“She has to get this right and she has to deal with it as openly as possible because it sets a tone for her administration,” Horner said.