NY Lawmaker Allegedly Threatened by Gov. Cuomo for Exposing True Number of Nursing Home COVID Deaths

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo allegedly threatened a state lawmaker over a nursing home scandal involving COVID-19 deaths of residents.

Assemblyman Ron Kim shared he was “in the middle of bathing my kids” on the night of Feb. 11 when Cuomo called him and threatened to end his political career, reported the NY Post.

Kim recalled Cuomo had asked him to draft a statement “to say that Melissa DeRosa said there was a federal investigation and they had to deal with that first.”

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Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa engaged in a conference call with lawmakers on Feb. 10, admitting that Cuomo’s administration withheld the true death toll of nursing home residents because federal prosecutors might use it against them.

Kim said Cuomo warned him, “You have not seen my wrath. I have been biting my tongue for months.”

According to Kim, Cuomo was so infuriated Kim’s wife could hear the governor yelling over the phone.

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“I can tell the whole world what a bad person you are and you will be finished. You will be destroyed.”

Kim noted the call devastated him and his wife who did not go to sleep that night.

On Saturday, Kim refused to pick up the phone when Cuomo tried to call him four or five times.

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Kim, who lost his uncle Son Kim to the coronavirus at a nursing home in April, has openly criticized the governor’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic.

 

Kim introduced legislation on Tuesday to remove Cuomo’s pandemic-related emergency powers. He also sent a letter co-signed by eight Assembly Democrats accusing Cuomo of violating the federal law against obstruction of justice.

In response, Cuomo issued a statement through his spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, belying Kim’s claims. 

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Azzopardi said Kim lied “about his conversation with Governor Cuomo Thursday night.”

“I know because I was one of three other people in the room when the phone call occurred,” he noted. “At no time did anyone threaten to ‘destroy’ anyone with their ‘wrath’ nor engage in a ‘coverup.’”

A dozen state Assembly Democrats have come forward to express their support for Kim, saying they are also backing the legislation.

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“We are deeply disturbed by the Governor’s attacks on our colleague — a fellow Democrat — Assemblymember Kim,” said the joint statement issued by Assembly members Harvey Epstein, Tom Abinanti, Khaleel Anderson, Robert C. Carroll, Emily Gallagher, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Andrew Hevesi, Anna Kelles, Zohran Mamdani, Marcela Mitaynes, Yuh-Line Niou and Phara Souffrant-Forrest.

Feature Image via Office of Ron Kim (left), Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (right)

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