State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli needs to formally ask Attorney General Tish James to open an investigation into Gov. Cuomo’s disastrous handling of nursing homes — and do it yesterday.
Aside from Cuomo himself, only DiNapoli has the authority to make such a referral to the AG, and so enable a state investigation with subpoena power. An AG investigation “would allow New Yorkers to truly learn the full extent of the nursing-home crisis,” wrote families associated with Voices for Seniors in asking the comptroller to act.
Vivian Rivera Zayas and her sister Alexa Rivera founded that advocacy group after their mom died in a Long Island nursing home. “As citizens of the state, we want to know if and how state resources were used to cover up the number of nursing-home deaths, and if so, who ordered it? Did state employees work together to tamper with official documents?”
Excellent questions — and ones Team Cuomo won’t answer willingly.
DiNapoli’s communications director, Jennifer Freeman, told The Post, “We are still reviewing the request.” Why wait? This is a no-brainer.
Cuomo & Co. spent months stonewalling requests from lawmakers, the press and watchdog groups for key info on the coronavirus in nursing homes — hiding the data that show its March 25 order requiring homes to admit COVID-contagious patients led to needless deaths. Only James’ January report calling out the state’s 50 percent undercount of nursing-home deaths forced the gov’s people to start telling (some of) the truth.
Along the way, top Cuomoites bullied the Department of Health into dropping the true numbers from its whitewashing July report. One of them, Melissa DeRosa, also lied to state lawmakers about the reason for the conspiracy to hide the truth — blaming a federal investigation that only started months after the coverup began.
DiNapoli needs to get the ball rolling: New Yorkers — especially the families of the 15,000-plus COVID nursing-home fatalities — deserve to know exactly what went on behind the scenes, and why.