When a new story about Andrew Cuomo’s wrongdoing appears, it is tempting to turn the page. Most New Yorkers have made up their minds about the disgraced former governor and don’t believe they need to know more.
Resist the temptation and remember the Rule of Cuomo: Whatever you know about him, it’s not the whole story.
There’s always more, and it’s always worse than you thought. Much worse.
That’s one lesson from the state Assembly report, which reveals new details of Cuomo’s venality. From sexual harassment to lies about nursing home deaths and his forbidden use of state employees to help finish his book, the governor is convincingly portrayed as a greedy, dishonest man without a shred of decency.
Another lesson from the report is that New York desperately needs a functioning two-party system. If there had been a GOP check on total Democratic control in Albany, Cuomo’s gross misconduct could have been flagged earlier.
In one sense, the Assembly report is late to the party, with the attorney general concluding in August that Cuomo was guilty of sexually harassing 11 women, which led to his resignation.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie never showed much appetite for taking on the vengeful governor, and tried to spike his chamber’s report on impeachment when Cuomo quit.
Fortunately, Heastie surrendered to the pressure to continue and the finished product confirms the AG’s finding on harassment and breaks important new ground in other areas. Key among those is showing how Cuomo overruled Department of Health employees and reduced the number of reported nursing home deaths by about 35 percent on the very days he was negotiating the contract for his book deal on pandemic leadership.
The timing persuasively makes the case that Cuomo struck it rich with the deception, with his book contract worth at least $5.2 million and potentially as much as $6.4 million. If the truth had been known, it’s hard to imagine that the publisher, Crown, a division of Penguin Random House, would have agreed to pay so much. It’s possible there might not have been a book at all.
In effect, the fabricated death totals were a lucrative lie for Cuomo.
As Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens told The Post, “It’s crystal clear now that Andrew Cuomo has had a financial motive to suppress nursing home death toll numbers.”
Cuomo had reportedly threatened to “destroy” Kim if the Dem didn’t retract an assertion to The Post last February that the administration was hiding the death numbers from the Legislature.
The findings should stiffen the spines of members of the Joint Commission on Public Integrity to claw back some of Cuomo’s book money. Combined with his rampant use of government staff for the project despite his written agreement not to, his manipulation of death reports to make the book more appealing cannot be overlooked.
The report might also light a fire under the FBI in Brooklyn, which has supposedly been investigating Cuomo’s withholding of accurate nursing home deaths from the Department of Justice. Then again, perhaps the FBI is too busy raiding the homes of muckraking journalists at Project Veritas and hunting down “domestic terrorist” parents who object to their children being indoctrinated in radical racial theories.
On harassment, the report finds “overwhelming evidence” of Cuomo’s guilt and goes into detail on the two most serious cases. One involves an unnamed state trooper and the other centers on aide Brittany Commisso, who claims Cuomo groped her breast.
The report, prepared by the Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm, concludes that each case “independently satisfies the definition of sexual harassment under New York State law.” That line and references to law enforcement officials suggest Cuomo still could face prosecution.
The biggest lapse is how the report fails to deal with the impact of Cuomo’s infamous March 25 order of last year that required nursing homes to admit discharged hospital patients infected with COVID-19. The order also barred the sites from even testing the patients until they were admitted.
The deadly effects were first revealed by The Post, with families and facility operators insisting the infected patients spread the deadly virus like wildfire, especially in homes that did not have enough safety gear for staff and were not able to segregate COVID cases.
It was after those news accounts, which Cuomo denounced as “politics,” that he began hiding the true number of nursing home deaths by changing how they were counted. Initially, patients who contracted the disease in a nursing home and died were reported in nursing home totals, even if they actually died in a hospital.
When those numbers reached 10,000 in a matter of weeks, Cuomo had them reduced to about 6,500 by separating those who died “out of facility.” New York was the only state to report its deaths to Washington that way.
The two issues came together on July 6, 2020, when Cuomo had his first meeting with publishers and his administration released the false total of nursing home deaths.
Despite knowing all that, investigators duck the obvious implication, saying they have no evidence the March 25 order “increased the number of COVID-19 fatalities in nursing homes.”
The lame conclusion makes no sense. Why else would Cuomo hide the deaths and rescind the March 25 order if it played no role?
Similarly, the report punts on Cuomo’s related claim that COVID-19 “was likely introduced into nursing homes by infected staff.”
Those two statements conflict with the parts of the report that document extensively how Cuomo and his cult-like staff marginalized the Department of Health and manipulated numbers to buttress his image.
In fact, later press accounts detailed how the report claiming staff transmission was written by Cuomo’s office and outside contractors, over the objections of the Department of Health.
All of which proves that the Rule of Cuomo also applies to investigators: However much you know about his venality, there’s always more.
It’s woke vs. woker
It’s always fun to watch the left eat its own. Here’s how the Boston Globe touts a story about Northampton artists feuding over a Mayflower print and the treatment of Native Americans: “What unfolded over the next 100 minutes was a distinctly American drama, vintage 2021, that in the following weeks has riven this deep-blue enclave, pitting liberals against progressives amid charges of censorship, white supremacy, privilege and moral panic.”
Yellen’s a ‘$oar’ loser
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen: Wait another year for inflation to subside. She doesn’t feel your pain.
Protect our protectors
Retired NYPD Sgt. John Boesch applauds Eric Adams for standing up against threats of riots from a Black Lives Matter blowhard, but says it’s not enough. He writes: “Adams must get the City Council to bring back ‘qualified immunity’ and change the fact that cops can be sued civilly. Officers are smart enough to know that stopping and frisking people even with reasonable suspicion is still an open door to be sued.”
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