A state lawmaker whose uncle died of COVID-19 in a Queens nursing home said Thursday’s damning report on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s undercounting of nursing-home fatalities brought tears to his eyes.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-Queens) told The Post that he “might have cried a little” when he got an early morning phone call alerting him that Attorney General Letitia James was about to release her bombshell findings.
Kim’s uncle, former US Army Capt. Son Kim, died April 16 in a Flushing nursing home after suffering “all the symptoms” of COVID-19, Kim has said.
Kim said James’ 76-page report “shows us that New York State has committed a human rights violation by choosing to protect nursing home profits over the safety of older adults and vulnerable members.”
“In order to hold those who pushed for legal corporate immunity and decided to hide the true nursing home deaths for months fully accountable, we need a non-partisan commission with subpoena power, which we introduced last year,” Kim said in a prepared statement.
“[Gov. Cuomo] handed out blanket immunity to corporate executives which cost lives and brought undue pain and suffering. It is a business model soaked in blood.”
Westchester County resident Haydee Pabey, whose mom died of COVID-19 at a nursing home in Washington Heights, said, “I knew it all along that they were undercounting nursing home deaths.
“I blame Gov. Cuomo for the thousands of seniors that died in the nursing homes,” she said.
“Cuomo is responsible for mandating nursing homes accept coronavirus patients.”
Pabey said she hoped that “more reports come out,” adding, “We need transparency and accountability.”
Pabey also noted that her late mom’s birthday “was two days ago.”
“This is a very emotional time,” she said.
“This is is heartbreaking.”
In an ironic twist, James’ report came just days after Cuomo made back-to-back appearances on MSNBC and CNN to accuse former President Donald Trump of mishandling the pandemic, saying: “Incompetent government kills people.”
His remarks sparked a furious backlash from critics, including a Twitter user who quipped, “Not gonna lie, wasn’t expecting a public confession like this.”