The discharge of New York State Meeting’s long-awaited report into former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s conduct in workplace seems to be imminent. After eight months of investigation, and several other months of guarantees that the report could be launched “soon,” judiciary committee members have been summoned to Albany Thursday and Friday to evaluation it.
Lawmakers haven’t stated after they would make the report public after their evaluation.
Whereas the report is predicted to retread allegations of sexual harassment outlined by New York State Legal professional Normal Letitia James’ investigation, its scope is predicted to be far broader, and will make clear Cuomo’s dealing with of nursing houses throughout the pandemic, in addition to his potential misuse of state assets for his personal profit.
Attorneys from the regulation agency Davis Polk & Wardwell, LLP, employed by the meeting as a part of a $5.12 million contract, interviewed 165 witnesses and reviewed a whole lot of 1000’s of items of proof, in line with Judiciary Committee Chair Charles Lavine.
The report, much like the one revealed by Legal professional Normal James, is just not prone to result in any particular felony or civil expenses, although proof from it will likely be handed on to different authorities nonetheless investigating Cuomo, together with the state legal professional normal, a number of district attorneys, and federal investigators.
When the state meeting launched its investigation into Cuomo on March eleventh, they billed it as a precursor to an impeachment vote towards the embattled former governor, although critics on the time argued it was a stall tactic, and that there was sufficient proof already within the public document by information reviews for the meeting to provoke an impeachment continuing.
When Cuomo resigned in August, Meeting Speaker Carl Heastie had tried to quash the probe altogether, however then he backtracked beneath public stress, promising to launch its findings to the general public. Regardless of urging from ardent Cuomo critics that the meeting ought to nonetheless transfer to question Cuomo as a strategy to bar him from in search of state workplace sooner or later, management has stated that’s not on the desk. When the latest public marketing campaign finance disclosures have been launched in July, Cuomo nonetheless had greater than $18 million within the financial institution, which he’s dipped into to pay attorneys representing him towards varied probes and investigations.
Here’s what to observe for when the report is lastly launched.
Cuomo’s COVID-19 Response in Nursing Houses
We know Cuomo’s administration withheld the variety of deaths of nursing residence residents who died from COVID in hospitals for almost a yr, and that it deflated the state’s nursing residence demise toll by 50 p.c. We know administration officers edited an official well being division report so as to take out these deaths and thus lower the depend. We additionally know Cuomo’s administration denied the requests from reporters, state lawmakers, and the federal authorities for extra data on these deaths for months, which subsequently triggered a federal investigation when former high aide Melissa DeRosa revealed it to state lawmakers. However what’s nonetheless unclear is what occurred behind-the-scenes main as much as these choices. Did Cuomo have express data and intentionally search to cowl up the variety of deaths in nursing houses, and instruct his aides to take action? The report might make clear these questions.
Individually, a few of Cuomo’s critics have pointed to a March 25, 2020 state directive that ordered COVID constructive sufferers to be despatched into nursing houses that doubtlessly result in a demise surge amongst residents. It’s doable the report touches on this determination as effectively.
Potential Misuse of State Sources
Cuomo’s controversial ebook deal, during which he was in a position to accumulate a $5.1 million payout on high of his $220,000 wage, is the topic of a number of ongoing investigations. In varied reviews revealed this spring, Cuomo’s high stage and junior staffers labored on the drafting and modifying course of. Cuomo and his attorneys have maintained aides volunteered their time to do that work. Cuomo was barred from utilizing any state assets throughout the drafting and publication strategy of his memoir per an settlement with the Joint Fee on Public Ethics, the state’s ethics oversight physique. The meeting’s report might give extra definitive solutions round this query.
One other potential misuse of state funds that meeting investigators might have been delved into is whether or not Cuomo prioritized COVID testing for his family and friends whereas the assessments have been briefly provide in the beginning of the pandemic, and whether or not this violated state ethics legal guidelines. Stories from the Washington Publish and the Occasions Union revealed state troopers have been dispatched to the personal houses of Cuomo’s shut associates to gather COVID swabs after which rush these samples to the state lab in Albany the place outcomes have been expedited — and at a time when folks dying in hospitals couldn’t get examined for the virus in a well timed method.
One other Potential Curveball
Surprises have surfaced within the launch of earlier reviews into Cuomo’s conduct. When the state legal professional normal’s sexual harassment allegation was revealed, it outlined a by no means earlier than disclosed account of a state trooper who stated Cuomo had touched her inappropriately and made sexual feedback to her. When the legal professional normal revealed transcripts from an interview with a high well being official who stated Cuomo had made off-color feedback to her, it offered an sudden window into the turmoil inside his well being division.
It’s doable that within the meeting’s fact-finding inquiry, investigators have uncovered one thing else that hasn’t beforehand been reported.