Ex-NY Gov Cuomo's team misrepresented nursing home deaths: Report

The report's findings would have been enough to begin impeachment proceedings against Andrew Cuomo, had he remained in office. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) An investigation by the New York state Assembly Judiciary Committee has found that former Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration "materially misrepresented" the extent of deaths that occurred in nursing homes in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, according to an assemblyman who reviewed the report.

The assemblyman, Mr Phil Steck, a Democrat who represents Colonie, New York, said that the report's findings would have been enough to begin impeachment proceedings against Cuomo, had he remained in office.

The report, which is expected to be made public early next week, is the result of a broad inquiry into Cuomo's behaviour in office. Investigators delved into sexual harassment accusations, the undercounting of nursing home deaths, and the circumstances surrounding his multi-million-dollar book deal.

Mr Steck also said that based on the report, "it would be a very reasonable inference" that there was some correlation between Cuomo's US$5.1 million (S$6.9 million) book deal and his administration's manipulation of nursing home death data.

The Cuomo administration became embroiled in scandal last year following reports that the state was undercounting coronavirus deaths of nursing home residents.

A report from the state attorney general's office concluded that deaths had been substantially undercounted, and eventually the officials increased the tally by more than 40 per cent.

The scandal deepened as details emerged about how aides to the governor had deliberately and repeatedly kept the Health Department from releasing the true count of deaths during the pandemic's first wave.

The FBI later opened its own investigation into the cover-up.

Questions have long swirled about whether or not there was a relationship between the report that Cuomo's top aides rewrote, which omitted the deaths of 3,800 New Yorkers, and the book that he was writing at the time.

Cuomo has maintained that state employees volunteered to assist with the book.

Mr Steck said that the thread that tied all of the inquiries together - the nursing home numbers, the pandemic memoir and sexual harassment allegations - was Cuomo's disregard for people he viewed as beneath him.

"He acted like the rules applied to everyone else, but not to him," Mr Steck said.

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