Records reveal that William Hochul Jr., the husband of New York’s governor Kathleen Hochul, has been continuously working as a general counsel and senior vice president for Delaware North – a casino and hospitality company that lobbied with state officials. According to the records, most of this occurred at the time Hochul was still a lieutenant governor in the state.
William Hochul’s Ties with Delaware North
The records were first picked up by New York Post by examining New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) documents. Delaware North, which Mr. Hochul had joined in 2016, apparently lobbied over $300,000 through Bolton-St. Johns in the last three years. The money went for lobbying services in Albany.
Furthermore, Delaware North engaged in direct lobbying of the “Executive Chamber/Staff of Office of Governor and Lt. Governor” in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, the company lobbied on the “COVID reopening safety plans of New York State” in 2020, as well as on the “ongoing issues with sports betting in the State of New York” in 2021.
In an interview with the New York Post, Governor Hochul’s office revealed that, despite the fact that she is now governor of the state, her husband “will not be involved with anything whatsoever to do with the State of New York.”
Delaware North, on the other hand, also spoke with the New York Post and announced that “neither the company nor its lobbyists have ever lobbied the former-Lieutenant Governor or her staff.” The spokesperson explained that JCOPE does not allow lobbyists to delineate between the governor and lieutenant governor’s offices” in filings. A JCOPE spokesperson refuted that last statement.
Hochul’s Office May Have A History Of Lobbying
Governor Hochul herself has served as a lobbyist for Buffalo’s M&T Bank, according to a report from the Associated Press. Her daughter-in-law, Christina Hochul, is currently director of federal policy at the Cambridge-based multinational biotechnology company Biogen – a company that has spent over $20,000 on lobbying in 2021.
Back on Delaware North, according to NY Post’s research, its most prominent lobbyist is Michael Keogh, who is married to the new governor’s newly-appointed secretary, Karen Persichilli. Persichilli has also likely been involved in lobbying as she has served as head of state government relations for the multinational investment bank and financial services holding company JP Morgan Chase for five years.
Governor Hochul assumed office on August 24 this year and promised that a new age of political transparency is coming. However, judging from the findings, this may not be fully correct as her office might have at least some history of lobbying.
It was later communicated that some of this data might come from misunderstandings. Delaware, for example, mentioned that they’ve never worked with Keogh.
Reinvent Albany’s executive director John Kaehny spoke with the NY Post about the recent bills that will reshape gambling in New York. The state is moving with the legalization of online sports betting and will be reworking its regulations.
“Right now the state of New York is developing the rules for mobile gaming apps, which is by far the most lucrative place where the industry is going,” Kaehny mentioned.
He added that, if Governor Hochul wants to establish an era of transparency, she should lead by example.