FBI and DOJ Looking Into Cuomo’s Handling of Nursing Home Scandal
I’ve been reporting on the cover-up by Governor Andrew Cuomo in the nursing home scandal since May of last year. We were one of the first to report on how once the scandal of his March 25th order became known, ordering nursing homes to take patients who were positive for the Wuhan coronavirus, and he started getting heat for his order, that suddenly in May, the way the state calculated nursing home deaths was changed. Now if a nursing home resident was taken to the hospital and died in the hospital, they were no longer counted as a “nursing home death.”
There have been a lot of questionable actions since then. But the whole scandal really imploded last week after an aide to Cuomo, Melissa De Rosa admitted to Democratic legislators that the Cuomo administration hadn’t given them information about the virus deaths that they had asked for because they were afraid about potential federal prosecution from the Trump DOJ.
But De Rosa told the Democratic legislators that they had provided information they were requested to by the federal government and they didn’t expect any further action now from the Biden DOJ.
They may have spoken too soon and it may be the uproar from that very admission that has now finally prompted the reported action of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
According to the Times-Union, they are looking into the actions of senior members of Cuomo’s coronavirus task force and how they dealt with nursing homes and long term care facilities. De Rosa was one of those task force members.
Rich Azzopardi, a spokes person for the governor, admitted that the DOJ had been looking into this for months and he said that the Gov they were cooperating.
Last month, the NY Attorney General Letitia James issued a report finding that Cuomo’s order increased the risk of infections at the facilities. The report also confirmed that the Cuomo administration didn’t include thousands of nursing home residents who later died at hospitals, despite the fact they were infected in nursing homes or long term care facilities.
Many people had been trying to get the numbers for months but the Cuomo administration had ducked all requests. It was only after the report issued by James that the Cuomo administration finally gave up the figures in question, finally releasing figures showing the combined total was 12,743 as of Jan. 19.
Cuomo claimed this week that he’d always reported all the deaths.
But the bottom line is he didn’t accurately report the ones that should have been associated with the nursing homes and that’s the connection he was apparently trying to avoid.
On top of all this, now even Democratic lawmakers are standing up to Cuomo and accusing him of obstruction in the matter and accusing him of intentional criminal wrongdoing in a letter. The letter also talked about removing Cuomo’s emergency powers and possibly impeaching him. Assemblyman Ron Kim, a Democrat, also opened up even more questions by dropping the bomb that Cuomo allegedly threatened to “destroy” him for pushing the issue. Kim’s uncle died in a nursing home last year.
There’s a whole lot here that can excite interest, the only question is whether they have the will to follow through on it and this is a very positive sign that unlike what Melissa De Rosa may have thought, there are still some professionals out there that may care about justice and that even some Democrats may have been pushed far enough to call for justice here.