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A COVID-19 test provider threw an in-person fundraiser for New York Gov. Kathy Hochul just a month before securing a hyper-lucrative deal to provide tests for the state.
Charlie and wife Nancy Tebele share a residence with two other Tebeles, James and Leon. James Teble was later selected as a finance associate with the campaign, paid full time. On Dec. 16, Leon Tebele made a donation of $20,000 to the Hochul campaign.
Altogether, the Tebele family has donated approximately $300,000 to the Hochul campaign, according to the Times-Union. On Dec. 20, Hochul and Digital Gadgets LLC agreed on a $637 million deal to provide the state with millions of COVID-19 tests.
The Times Union first reported that California paid 45% less for rapid COVID-19 tests from a prominent Hochul donor than New York state spent last winter when the omicron variant took hold around the holidays. New York could have saved $286 million if it paid the same price as California.
Records show Hochul’s administration purchased 52 million of the “Carestart” tests, manufactured by the New Jersey-based firm AccessBio, for $637 million, forking over an average of $12.25 per test on the taxpayers’ dime. Instead of buying the tests directly from AccessBio, as California had done, New York went through an intermediary, New Jersey-based distributor Digital Gadgets LLC, the report says.
John Kaehny, executive director of Reinvent Albany, renewed his call for an investigation into the $637 million in state business paid to the Digital Gadgets, telling the New York Post that: “there is a dark cloud of pay-to-play hanging over this.”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.