Assemblyman Ron Kim urges Attorney General to investigate Cuomo nursing home scandal

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Assemblyman Ron Kim stands with Voices for Seniors on Foley Square.
Photo by Dean Moses

The feud between Ron Kim and Andrew Cuomo is not over yet.

Assemblyman Ron Kim and Governor Andrew Cuomo had a very raw, very public falling out this past February that essentially catapulted the nursing home scandal—in which Cuomo is accused of hiding the number of fatalities from COVID-19 within New York State nursing homes—into the media spotlight. Kim became a household name overnight after the local politician alleged Cuomo threatened to ruin his career. Now, Kim is calling upon the Attorney General to join the fight.

Assemblyman Ron Kim calls for a further investigation into Gov. Cuomo. Photo by Dean Moses

Kim gathered with Voices for Seniors members in Foley Square on Monday afternoon. In the shadow of the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse, the assemblyman stood ahead of those who had lost elderly loved ones to the deadly virus calling out the Governor for what he says are “Some of the worst and deadly policies that this country has ever witnessed.”

“For ten months Andrew Cuomo only listened to the worst operators, the lobbyists, to put forward policies that were not only deadly but were irresponsible and criminal. So, we are here once again calling for full accountability for Andrew Cuomo’s unilateral decision-making around nursing homes, in particular, we are asking for the Attorney General and every other investigator who has now opened up investigations into Andrew Cuomo to look into him and his allies, and his administration committing fraud,” Kim said.

A photo of a lost loved one shadowed by Cuomo. Photo by Dean Moses

While Attorney General Letitia James is reportedly already conducting an investigation into the slew of sexual misconduct allegations levied at the head of state, this demand for action asks James to look into a cover-up of deaths within nursing homes. Kim also cited the importance of this proposed investigation to the families of the deceased who formed Voices for Seniors, a group that looks to improve the lives of the elderly through advocacy. Members of the organization clutched photographs of perished family members and signs dubbing the Governor a “super spreader,” blaming Cuomo for the deaths of their loved ones.

“We represent 15,000 seniors who lost their lives in our state. One year later it is clear that there is an investigation into the resources for the writing and the assembly of the governor’s book, we also know one year later there is an investigation into sexual harassment allegations, which are both serious issues. What isn’t clear at this point is if there is an investigation into the handling of the nursing homes during the height of the pandemic still one year later,” said Vivian Rivera-Zayas, who co-founded Voices for Seniors with her sister Alexa Rivera after their mother contracted COVID-19 and passed away shortly after while at a Long Island nursing home.

Assemblyman Ron Kim listens to Vivian Rivera-Zayas. Photo by Dean Moses

Agreeing, Kim also stated that as a lawmaker playing down the number of COVID-19 cases prevented him and others from taking meaningful action that could have saved lives. This action follows another event in Foley Square, where on March 25 Voices for Seniors mourned the substantial loss of life with a candlelight vigil.

Families still grieve. Photo by Dean Moses