A Democrat lawmaker from Queens said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attempted a mafioso-style threat if he refused to help cover-up a shocking scandal involving a cover-up of nursing home deaths.
State Assemblyman Ron Kim said Cuomo called him last Thursday night, as the governor’s house of cards was beginning to collapse surrounding the massacre of thousands of elderly patients in long-term care facilities, the New York Post reported.
Although a fellow Democrat, Kim has been an outspoken critic of Cuomo’s after his uncle became one of the nursing-home victims last April, even introducing legislation to strip Cuomo’s emergency powers and accusing him of obstructing justice.
It has long been known that Cuomo forced those infected with coronavirus to co-mingle with the healthy population. However, the scope of the disastrous policy was revealed after his secretary, Melissa DeRosa, admitted last week to withholding data for fear it would be “used against us.”
DeRosa said the numbers may be as much as 50% higher than reported.
While in damage-control mode, Cuomo allegedly phoned Kim, who was bathing his children at the time.
“Mr. Kim, are you an honorable man?” he asked, requesting that Kim draft a statement excusing the cover-up.
As he resisted, Cuomo allegedly became more agitated, saying, “You have not seen my wrath. I have been biting my tongue for months.”
He also threatened retaliation against Kim, saying he would “tell the whole world what a bad person you are” and warning, “You will be destroyed.”
Kim said his wife could hear Cuomo yelling over the phone.
“After that call, we were devastated. My wife didn’t sleep at all,” he said.
The governor called again “four or five times on Saturday” but Kim did not pick up.
Although Cuomo initially sought to avoid directly addressing the allegations from Kim, he appeared to make good on his earlier threat to smear the assemblyman during a teleconference Wednesday, the Post reported.
Cuomo said Kim’s reversal in support was the result of an “open and hostile relationship” over a 2015 measure to regulate nail salons that had upset business owners in Kim’s Asian-heavy community.
“He actually used his lobbying firm to lobby on behalf of the business owners … then raised money from those business owners and continues to do so,” Cuomo alleged.
Cuomo’s office also sent out a lengthy statement late Wednesday afternoon attacking Kim and casting aspersions on the credibility of his claims.
“Mr. Kim is lying about his conversation with Governor Cuomo Thursday night,” said the statement attributed to senior adviser Rich Azzopardi.
“I know because I was one of three other people in the room when the phone call occurred,” Azzopardi continued. “At no time did anyone threaten to ‘destroy’ anyone with their ‘wrath’ nor engage in a ‘coverup.’ That’s beyond the pale and is unfortunately part of a years-long pattern of lies by Mr. Kim against this administration.”
It is uncertain whether Azzopardi may have been coerced into issuing the statement.