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Cuomo Attacks Ron Kim After Being Accused of ‘Obstruction of Justice’ in Nursing Home Scandal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Ron Kim (Queens Post)

Feb. 17, 2021 By Christian Murray

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has come under heavy fire for his delay in reporting the number of nursing home residents killed by COVID-19, railed against one of his chief critics—Queens Assembly Member Ron Kim—during a press conference today.

The attack followed a letter that Kim co-wrote Tuesday—along with eight other Democrats– accusing Cuomo of “intentional obstruction of justice” for withholding the nursing home data from state and federal officials.

Kim has also called for Cuomo to be formally stripped of his emergency powers due to the alleged cover up.

Cuomo told reporters today that Kim’s accusations were politically motivated and that the pair have had a “hostile relationship” that goes back to 2015 when legislation was passed regulating nail salons.

The governor accused Kim of supporting the 2015 legislation but then changing his mind when business owners in his district were upset.

“He actually used his lobbying firm to lobby on behalf of the business owners,” Cuomo alleged, adding that he has since tapped into these same business owners for campaign money. “I believe it is unethical, if not illegal.”

Several Queens legislators criticized Cuomo for the attacks and trying to divert attention with his claims.

“This behavior is unhinged,” tweeted State Sen. Mike Gianaris. “Seems like someone has a problem with legislators performing their oversight duties.”

Meanwhile, State Sen. Jessica Ramos tweeted: “Someone seems to be nervous about legislators doing their job.”

The recent feud with Kim began after the New York Post reported that a top aide to Cuomo admitted that his administration had withheld nursing home death data out of fear that it would be used against them by federal prosecutors.

Kim was quoted in the NYPost story saying that it appeared as if the governor was “trying to dodge having any incriminating evidence.”

The Cuomo administration had refused requests from lawmakers and the media for months to provide the number of nursing home residents who died in hospitals— not just in nursing home facilities.

The number was finally released following a report by Attorney General Letitia James, who estimated the death toll was undercounted by as much as 50 percent.

The administration revised the number of nursing home deaths from 8,500 to more than 15,000 in response.

Cuomo has denied any wrongdoing, saying that he was not obstructing justice by not providing the data in a timely manner.

Kim told the New York Post that Cuomo called him Thursday night after the NYPost story ran and threatened his career and asked him to amend his statement.

“I can tell the whole world what a bad person you are and you will be finished,” Kim recalled Cuomo saying. Cuomo denied making such a statement.

Kim fired back at Cuomo today following the press conference.

The assemblyman issued a statement that did not address Cuomo’s claims about the nail salon but instead about the governor’s actions concerning nursing homes– as well as the lobbyists who support the administration.

“On March 25, the governor issued an executive order that sent COVID-19 positive patients into unprepared nursing homes. At the same time he surreptitiously slipped legislative immunity into our state budget bill for hospital executives and nursing homes at the request of powerful lobbyist like the Greater New York Hospital Associate—a group that donated $1.25 million towards his campaign. All the while his administration lied about the data.”

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36 Comments

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Gardens Watcher

I have listened to and watched Gov. Cuomo’s clear and convincing explanation of this issue live on NY1. Today’s presentation by Dr. Zucker was even more detailed and convincing. They were right back in the Spring and are still right now.

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Athena

This is sad, apparently no one remembers the absolute chaos and devastation in the beginning of the pandemic in NY, mass graves, no supplies, overloaded hospitals, now it’s a blame game? Choose your battles Mr Governor! No proof so most of us do not believe it.

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Fan of Dough park

As Governor, guess what, he WAS responsible for the chaos and devastation that happened. He’s in charge remember? He made the decisions. He said it 20 times a page in his book I think.

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Lina

In the end its all semantics… The death toll equals out. Its not like the tally overall is wrong… just who belonged to who when they died. WOW… Move on… help those that need help… This is childish banter.

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Yolanda

@Lina Did you loose a loved one? I’m sure you would be saying something different if you did. Very cold and callous to call this childish banter.

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Laura

Maybe he will open restaurants to 50 percent capacity or something similar like aid for poor New Yorker’s in a week so everyone can praise him again and forget about all this.

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Politicizing kills

Laura – (hashtagger-) It’s people like you who politicized the indoor eating restrictions. Was it that hard for you to pick up or have a meal or two delivered? Much of the restaurant industry woes fall at your feet.

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Martha

Look at the big picture here, Cuomo was and still is the only man who governed us during this pandemic. STOP the insanity. Go after the GOP who denied this pandemic.

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Hua

This is just another example of privilege. Certain people thinking they can say and do whatever they want with no consequences towards particular groups in this country.

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Lorraine

People have a good governor!! His hands were tied just like any other state by Trump. Trump held back all the numbers. I am sure it is a misunderstanding. That is why i prefer text and no voice calls.

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Claire

Whatever! A good leader is a strong one. I do not believe Kim anyway. He waited to go to the media and the only bystander to the convo is his wife. I will keep an open mind but Cuomo is surrounded by staff.

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RR

Imagine if Cuomo was a republican. They would of spun this to be racially motivated/harassment/bias. I couldnt believe Cuomo said Kims response is because of nail salons in his district not liking state requirements.

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Ray

Cuomo pulled a Trump. Trump already got away with it and so will Cuomo. Difference is that most in media will forgive Cuomo.

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Denise

As far as the nursing home situation is concerned, Cuomo was very blunt that he was waiting for a Democrat president and had probably discussed all of this with the DNC to influence the election. No criminal investigation is going to occur and it will fall out of the news even more than it has by the end of the week. Most media organizations had an idea this was happening. Also it’s not only New York but also happened in San Francisco and Seattle but those got n0 to little coverage.

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Gardens Watcher

The initial request from the DOJ to NYS in August asked for (and got) a response within 2 weeks. Interesting that the request compared data from two red states (FL and TX) just two months before the election. Coincidence or politics?

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Gardens Watcher

“I can tell the whole word what a bad person you are…”

Really Ron? Sounds more like kids’ playground talk. Seems like someone amplified their comments when he went on CNN.

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Restrict does not mean suspend

Cuomo would not have gotten involved to clean up the mess left by the failed negligent and incompetent Trump kept the virus out of America.

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Gardens Watcher

The hospitals were overloaded with Covid patients in the Spring, remember? Where were the NH patients supposed to go upon discharge from a hospital?

Neither The Comfort nor Javits could have properly cared for nursing home patients, who require much more personal care. The government didn’t want Covid on the ship either.

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RN

Sending covid positive patient to the Javits Center and the Comfort would have saved lives. Nursing homes are not equipped with necessary medical equipment. I should know, I work in one.

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Gardens Watcher

PPE was scarce everywhere back in the Spring, both in hospitals and nursing homes. Covid Test kits were scarce too, and we were just learning about the virus and how best to treat patients back then. People were dying at unprecedented rates, in ICUs and in hospital hallways.

Doctors discharged Covid-recovered patients back to nursing homes — where they lived — if they were deemed medically stabile. Where else should they been discharged to? There were no perfect options, but the nursing homes had the obligation to tell the state if they could not care for that patient.

As a nursing home worker, you know how much work it takes to care for elderly patients, most with co-morbidities. Again, the Comfort ship wouldn’t take Covid patients, and Javits wouldn’t take patients without a test result, which took 7 to 14 days. And Javits had cots, not beds with guard rails. Think about how disorienting that place would be for an elderly patient, and how long would they need to stay there?

Covid was already circulating in many of the NHs and we now know Covid can be, and was, spread by staff asymptomatically. It spread like wildfire in NHs. That is tragic, but that’s not your fault or Cuomo’s.

Bad Cuomo

Trump closed down travel from China . The first case in New York came from Cuomo’s mother country , Italy.

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Trump let in thousands of Chinese nationals

Actually, Cuomo doesn’t control national immigration policy! The former president did.

You’re blaming Trump Flu on Cuomo because…he’s Italian-American??! Wow the right-wing is getting desperate 😂

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Do your research

When he put the travel ban on China even before Nancy Pelosi was urging San Franciscans to visit Chinatown, Trump was called xenophobic. Trump was well ahead of the curve.

You don’t contain a pandemic with political correctness.

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robin

It breaks my heart how unfeeling so many are towards the old. I do not want my children to put me in a nursing home.

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Sarcastic Pessimist

Lied. Caught. Now blaming the perils of old age for the nursing home deaths because his bullying of Ron Kim didn’t work. Stay classy Andy.

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CYNTHIA HASKINS

Cuomo was busy trying to keep people alive at the time. What difference does it make where the thousands of ny deaths occured

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Earl J.

Cythnia , it matters to the people who lost their love ones. You sound cold and mean spirited as Cuomo.

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Gardens Watcher

If a person dies in a hospital, the place of death is listed as that hospital on their death certificate. If they die in a nursing home, it is listed as that nursing home.

Stay out of nursing homes AND hospitals if at all possible to reduce your risk of infection. That has always been true, but even more so during a pandemic.

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Lock him up

Cuomolini is quite the bully
The man is owned by the hospitals corporation which knew that reimbursements thru Medicare and Medicaid would be low so Cuomo did their bidding and sent defenseless seniors to die in nursing homes where their families could not enter and get on the staff
Do you think Fredos big brother will take responsibility for this ? Naaah
Kim should file a police report if Andrew continues to harass him
Kim lost an uncle to covid in a nursing home
Shame on anyone who plans on supporting Andrew

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Gardens Watcher

Nursing homes have always been understaffed, even before Covid. Anybody who’s had a loved one in a NH, both non-profit and for-profit ones, can tell you that. Covid made that situation even worse since staff got sick too and they spread Covid in the NHs asymptomatically.

If a NH couldn’t care for a patient, they always had the right and the duty to tell the state they couldn’t handle that patient.

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