|Release: Assembly member Kim calls on Cuomo campaign donors to not give him any more money because he is an 'abusive and a morally and legally bankrupt Governor.'|
|June 2, 2021|
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ASSEMBLYMAN RON KIM URGES CUOMO’S 100 TOP DONORS TO CEASE SUPPORT
New York, NY — Today, Assemblyman Ron Kim issued a letter to Governor Cuomo’s top 100 donors to cease and withdraw their political and financial support ahead of his June fundraiser. It was recently reported that Cuomo intends to hold the in-person event, charging $10,000 per person, despite a slew of scandals and legal inquiries related to his deadly mishandling of nursing homes during the Covid-19 pandemic and sexual assault allegations. The Assemblymember criticized the announcement, and in his message reminded the recipients that the governor and his staff have triggered the full weight of law enforcement agencies investigating his self-dealing and public corruption.
Assemblymember Ron Kim said: “This is a governor who has contributed to the mass deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers. The moral urgency to cease to be beneficiaries of an abusive and a morally and legally bankrupt Governor is clear. I am calling on his top donors and supporters to withdraw their support as soon as possible.”
The list of his and his administration’s alleged criminal offenses includes but is not limited to:
1. Severe undercounting of nursing home deaths—a report published in January 2021 by the Office of the New York State Attorney General revealed that the New York State Department of Health undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by up to 50 percent.
2. An admission of a cover-up by Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor, after then- Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband issued a request on behalf of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to the Cuomo administration for nursing homes deaths data in public facilities, citing the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act as the legal basis for their inquiry.
3. A deliberate rewriting and suppression of data in the NYSDOH’s official report on nursing home deaths.
4. At least ten individual claims of sexual assault, harassment, or inappropriate workplace conduct
5. A $5 million-dollar profit motive in Governor Cuomo’s multi-million dollar book deal, written during the COVID-19 pandemic through the efforts of his staff “volunteering”.
6. Preferential treatment for the Governor’s immediate family and friends in accessing limited health resources and testing at the outset of the pandemic.
June 2, 2021
To the Supporters and Benefactors of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo:
As one of Governor Cuomo’s top 100 contributors in the last election cycle, I write to you today as a member of the New York State Legislature to implore you to cease your financial and political support of New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.
As you well know, the Governor is facing a barrage of scandals and legal inquiries related to his administration’s egregious mishandling of nursing homes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including an ongoing investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) and overseen by the 1 United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (“EDNY”) . The allegations against the Governor as well as his known transgressions with respect to his tenure throughout the pandemic are manifold. They include:
● Undercounting the nursing home deaths count by as much as 50 percent. A report2 published in January 2021 by the Office of the New York State Attorney General (“OAG”) revealed that the New York State Department of Health (“NYSDOH” or “DOH”) undercounted the number of nursing home deaths by up to 50 percent due to inconsistent reporting methods. These deflated figures were featured in a report3 NYSDOH released on July 6, 2020, as part of the department’s analysis as to the root causes of the nursing home deaths. As has been widely reported, the NYSDOH opted to use a convoluted counting scheme in which nursing home residents hospitalized with COVID-19 who subsequently succumbed to the disease in the hospital were not counted in the state’s overall tally, thus deflating and obscuring the publicly known death toll.
● Preferential treatment for the Governor’s immediate family at the outset of the pandemic. The New York Times reported4 on March 24 that in March 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic was fully taking root in New York State, Governor Cuomo abused the powers of a public office and enabled his family and senior-ranking officials to have privileged and exclusive access to COVID-19 testing that was at the time not made readily available for the greater public.
● An admission of a cover-up by Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor. Last August, then-Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband issued a request5 on behalf of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to the Cuomo administration for nursing homes deaths data in public facilities, citing the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act as the legal basis for their inquiry. Moreover, the DOJ request came shortly after a request from the state legislature to the NYSDOH requesting an accurate tally of the nursing home deaths, amongst other crucial information necessary for sound policy-making. Six months later, in a closed-door meeting on February 10 between members of the Governor’s inner circle and legislators, Melissa DeRosa admitted6 to a deliberate withholding of nursing homes deaths data from the DOJ out of fear of political retribution from then-President Donald J. Trump. Although the media has colloquially referred to this as a cover-up or an obstruction of justice in some form, it will depend on the investigation by federal law enforcement to truly ascertain whether financial or other motives manifested and would fit federal statutory definitions of an obstruction of justice.
● A deliberate rewriting and suppression of data in the NYSDOH’s official report on nursing home deaths. The New York Times7 and The Wall Street Journal8 first reported that senior members of the Cuomo administration, including Melissa DeRosa, Linda Lacewell, the superintendent of the state Department of Financial Services, and Jim Malatras, a long-time Cuomo advisor now serving as the chancellor of SUNY, intentionally removed nursing home resident deaths in hospitals data from the aforementioned NYSDOH report, in yet another obstructive act.
● A potential profit motive in Governor Cuomo’s multi-million dollar book deal. American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic was published by Andrew Cuomo last summer. Aides who assisted in the authoring of the book – potentially on government time and on the taxpayers’ dime – claim that the final deal9 settled between the Governor and the publisher, Simon & Schuster, was north of $4 million. Although we still await the findings of the federal investigation, it is suspect that the decision to suppress the nursing home deaths data prior to the July 6 publication of the NYSDOH came about within the period of time in which the book was being written, raising far-reaching concerns about a personal profit motive obstructing the proper and integral functioning of the state government during an unabating pandemic.
Additionally, the Governor is under an independent investigation conducted by a law firm deputized by the OAG for his workplace misconduct in the alleged sexual harassment and assaults of, at the time of this writing, at least ten individual women, some of whom were formerly employed by the Executive Office. These allegations involve inappropriate and sexist remarks made to women staffers, up to and including direct sexual assault of forced kissing and bodily groping by the Governor, as well as defamation and tactics of intimidation employed by the Governor and his confidants in order to suppress reporting of these sex crimes.
It should more than suffice to conclude that one has nothing to gain and everything to lose by continuing to either politically support or financially bankroll the Governor’s campaign coffers. At this moment in time, both United States Senators, all but five of the New York congressional delegation, and decisive majorities in both chambers of the legislature have come forward to declare that the Governor must resign out of his own volition or face impeachment by the legislature. Even President Joe Biden has expressed that if and when the independent investigation charges the Governor with sexual harassment, he should resign. The near-entirety of the Democratic Party establishment has indisputably broken ranks with Governor Cuomo.
To persist in supporting this Governor in what little remains of his political life, or by financing his campaign war chest, will be untenable for the state of affairs in New York. He is a leader without a mandate and whom the overwhelming majority of federal and state legislators – Democratic and Republican alike – do not recognize as a Governor with any political legitimacy. But more importantly: this is a Governor who has contributed to the mass deaths and suffering of tens of thousands of our fellow New Yorkers. The moral urgency to cease to be beneficiaries of an abusive and a morally and legally bankrupt Governor is apparent; it is imperative you withdraw your support of the Governor as expediently as possible.
Member of Assembly
1 F.B.I. Investigating Whether Cuomo Aides Gave False Data on Nursing Homes. The New York Times, March 24, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/nyregion/cuomo-nursing-homes-covid.html
2 Nursing Home Response to COVID-19 Pandemic. Office of the New York State Attorney General, January 30, 2021. https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/2021-nursinghomesreport.pdf
3 Factors Associated with Nursing Home Infections and Fatalities in New York State During the COVID-19 Global Health Crisis. New York State Department of Health, July 6, 2020. https://www.health.ny.gov/press/releases/2020/2020-07-06_covid19_nursing_home_report.htm
4 Cuomo’s Family Is Said to Have Received Special Access to Virus Tests. The New York Times, March 24, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/24/nyregion/cuomo-family-covid-testing.html
5 United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, August 26, 2020. https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/1308981/download 6 Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa admits they hid nursing home data so feds wouldn’t find out. New York Post, February 11, 2021.
7 Cuomo Aides Rewrote Nursing Home Report to Hide Higher Death Toll. The New York Times, March 7, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/04/nyregion/cuomo-nursing-home-deaths.html
8 Calls Grow for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Resign. The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2021. https://www.wsj.com/articles/new-york-gov-cuomo- says-he-wont-resign-over-allegations-he-acted-inappropriately-11615143713
9 As Cuomo Sought $4 Million Book Deal, Aides Hid Damaging Death Toll. The New York Times, March 31, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/31/nyregion/cuomo-book-nursing-homes.html