The senators draft new laws after seven months of trying to get answers.
Senator Jim Tedisco and the Empire Center for Public Policy recently won a lawsuit seeking data on deaths from COVID 19 nursing homes. Tedisco (R, C-Glenville) and Senator Daphne Jordan (R, C-Halfmoon) asked if New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and his administration were trying to cover up data on the deaths of 15,000 nursing home residents. The Senators are now drafting new laws that provide criminal penalties for violating New York’s Open Government and the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). The new proposal would personally oblige the governor to pay criminal penalties and face all judgments, including possible prison terms, for knowingly violating FOIL requests for refusing to disclose information.
The two senators spent about seven months getting the information they were looking for through a FOIL request, and a judge eventually ruled that the state health department was in violation of state law regarding access to records.
“The governor will not pay the legal fees because he is being compensated. If there was anything that ever put salt on the wound, it was it, ”Tedisco said. “If you are hiding information and breaking the law about a slide, it is a criminal activity.”
Photo by Bernard Tuck on Unsplash
“The Cuomo cover-up is more than just another Albany scandal – it is a potentially massive crime because its government claims to have deliberately withheld relevant information from federal and state agencies about the deaths of 15,000 of our New York colleagues,” said the company Jordan agreed, adding, “It is very clear that in addition to writing a book, the governor and his team were busy investigating his government’s complicity and fault in the country’s worst nursing home disaster during COVID-19 -Hide pandemic. Any state official – whether Governor Cuomo, Health Commissioner Zucker, Secretary Melissa DeRosa or anyone else – who knowingly violates FOIL requests and our open government law by refusing to disclose public information faces jail time. We must also waive their compensation to ensure that taxpayers do not pay the statutory bills for the misconduct and gross neglect of an official. Now more than ever, a thorough, independent investigation into this growing scandal needs to be conducted so that families can finally learn the truth and we can ensure that such a tragedy never happens again. “
Tedisco continued, “Governor Cuomo and his officers lied about the nursing homes, and New Yorkers paid and died. Justice Kimberly O’Connor should have been able to place judgment and responsibility for paying legal fees and other fines on the governor and his officers, not taxpayers. I’ve dealt with it [Cuomo’s] The administration’s stone wall facing the nursing home problem in my quest for information related to the collapse of the St. Clare’s Hospital pension fund. Many stories have been recorded in the media of FOIL requests to the Cuomo administration delayed by months and even years. This is public information and people have a right to know what their government is doing on their behalf. No governor or officer should ever again be able to hide public information, such as the data on the deaths of 15,000 nursing home residents, without imposing criminal penalties. “
Bill creates criminal penalties, personal liability for officials who break FOIL laws
Tedisco & Jordan: “Cuomo Lied and New Yorker Paid And Died”