THE CUOMO nursing home scandal has been branded a “coordinated criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice” after it emerged that his aides rewrote a report to hide a higher death toll.
The shocking July report from the New York Department of Health allegedly revealed that more than 9,000 nursing home residents had died of Covid by June.
Cuomo’s senior aides reportedly rewrote a report written by health officialsCredit: AP:Associated Press
FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians transport a man from a nursing home into an ambulance April 16, 2020Credit: Reuters
By June the number of nursing home deaths surpassed 9,000, but was not made public, the Times saidCredit: Reuters
The 63-year-old governor is facing calls to resignCredit: EPA
But that figure was not made public, according to documents and interviews reviewed by the New York Times.
According to The Wall Street Journal, aides of New York Governor Cuomo asked the state health department to change its definition of Covid nursing home deaths, reducing the tally considerably.
His aides reportedly asked that the July report’s data focus only on residents who died inside long-term-care facilities.
That would leave out those who had died in hospitals after becoming sick in nursing homes – bringing the number down to 6,432.
The 63-year-old governor – who has been accused of sexual harassment by three former staffers – only revealed the complete nursing home data earlier this year.
He admitted to the large number after the state attorney general said thousands of nursing home deaths – which have now topped 15,000 – had not been accounted for.
Mike Lawler, a Republican assemblyman representing Rockland County, was among those calling for Cuomo to resign amid the scandal.
“It’s very clear the Cuomo admin understood their March 25th order had contributed to the death toll & they wanted to cover it up to avoid political fallout, plain and simple,” he wrote on Twitter.
“They had the data & they hid it. This was a coordinated criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice.”
Democratic New York Assemblyman Ron Kim added: “This is criminal. The Gov’s top advisors pushed state health officials to strip a public report of the data showing more nursing home deaths.
“The changes Cuomo’s aides made to the report reveal that they had the fuller accounting of NH deaths as early as the summer of 2020.”
Cuomo is pictured grabbing Anna Ruch’s face and asked “can I kiss you” at a reception in 2019Credit: @evanchill
Last month an aide of Cuomo reportedly admitted to withholding nursing home Covid deathsCredit: EPA
Cuomo penned this book during the Covid pandemicCredit: AP:Associated Press
Cuomo and his aides had been hiding the death numbers months before federal authorities requested information, reports sayCredit: Reuters
The data was reportedly held due to worries over the Trump administration would looking into the state’s handling of nursing homes.
However, the death numbers were hidden months prior to the attorney general notice.
After the Times reviewed docs and interviews with six people with direct knowledge of the talks, it was found that Cuomo and his aides had been hiding the death numbers months before federal authorities requested information.
As per the reviewed documents, at the time the nursing home report was put together, data from the New York State Health Department showed the death toll to be 50 per cent more than what Cuomo’s administration made public.
According to the Times, a person with knowledge of discussions said lawyer Elkan Abramowitz was hired on behalf of Cuomo and his aides – and has started questioning the governors’ staffers about the nursing home report.
According to the Times, a person with knowledge of discussions said lawyer Elkan Abramowitz was hired on behalf of Cuomo and his aidesCredit: AFP or licensors
The report named those involved in altering the nursing home death report as Melissa DeRosa, Linda Lacewell, and Jim MalatrasCredit: Getty Images – Getty
The report named those involved in altering the report as Melissa DeRosa, Linda Lacewell, and Jim Malatras.
During the pandemic, Cuomo worked on his book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
His book – which delivers a retelling of his efforts to contain the coronavirus as it ravaged his state in spring – was released in October.
A spokesman for the NY Department of Health told The Journal: “[The Department of Health] was comfortable with the final report and believes fully in its conclusion that the primary driver that introduced Covid into the nursing homes was brought in by staff.”
Beth Garvey, a special counsel and senior adviser to Cuomo, told The Journal in a statement that the data was excluded from the July report because they were not sure it was accurate.
“The out-of-facility data was omitted after DOH could not confirm it had been adequately verified,” she said.
Cuomo has denied a cover-up.
Charlotte Bennett, 25, has accused Cuomo of sexual harassmentCredit: Twitter
Lindsey Boylan, a former aide to the governor, claimed Cuomo kissed her on the lips
The reports came just hours after former staffer Charlotte Bennett, 25, accused Cuomo of sexual harassment – claiming he quizzed her about her sex life after she went to him for help as a survivor of sexual assault.
Lindsey Boylan, another former aide to the governor, has alleged Cuomo kissed her on the lips and suggested they play strip poker.
Cuomo this week apologized – but insisted he will not resign as he “never touched anyone inappropriately.”
“I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said.
“It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it and frankly I am embarrassed by it.”
However, Cuomo might be forced to testify over the sexual harassment allegations as six Democratic lawmakers have called for his impeachment.
In a joint letter lawmakers from the New York State Senate and Assembly said Cuomo’s “predatory behavior” and “gross misconduct” demand impeachment proceedings.