Andrew Cuomo May Be In Legal Trouble Again As He Plans Political Comeback

A new report from the New York Comptroller's Office on total nursing home deaths could spell legal trouble for the former governor of New York Andrew Cuomo.

The audit stated that the New York Department of Health (DOH) underreported the number of deaths at nursing homes due to COVID-19 by "at least 4,100." These findings come after Cuomo is reportedly considering a political comeback.

The report shows that, when questioned by those conducting the audit, "DOH officials could not explain the discrepancies."

The report also states that the department was "unprepared to respond to infectious disease outbreaks at nursing homes, even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York."

Other findings from the report show that the department was slow in its response to a directive from the federal government to carry out surveys of nursing homes for "infection control problems." Between March 23 and May 30, 2020, only 20 percent of facilities in the state had been surveyed, the report shows. Other states had completed more than 90 percent of those surveys.

Andrew Cuomo
Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks on July 6, 2021 in New York City. A report from the New York Comptroller's Office says the New York Department of Health underreported the number of COVID-related deaths in nursing homes by more than 4,000. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Additionally, the comptroller's report says that the department did not provide the public with correct or accurate information regarding the number of deaths. It also says that the exact number of COVID nursing home deaths is still unknown at this point.

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli called the findings trouble in a statement to Newsweek.

"Our audit findings are extremely troubling. The public was misled by those at the highest level of state government through distortion and suppression of the facts when New Yorkers deserved the truth. The pandemic is not over, and I am hopeful the current administration will make changes to improve accountability and protect lives," DiNapoli said.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said, in response to Newsweek, that DiNapoli's report confirmed some of the findings from her report last year.

"This audit affirms many of the findings that we uncovered last year about the state's response to COVID, most notably that DOH and the former governor undercounted the number of deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50 percent. I am grateful to Comptroller DiNapoli for bringing much-needed transparency to this critical issue. My office will continue to monitor nursing home conditions and ensure the safety of our most vulnerable residents. If anyone has concerns about nursing home conditions, I urge them to contact my office," James said.

However, a spokesperson for Cuomo deemed the report as "not news."

"As the number of out-of-facility deaths were reported last January this is not news, however what is peculiar is the Comptroller's release of this audit now — but no one has ever accused him of being above politics," Rich Azzopardi said.

Cuomo is thought to be considering a run against James for New York attorney general. In late February, Cuomo released an ad titled "Politics vs. The Law."

In August of last year, Cuomo resigned from the governorship after pressure from several prominent Democrats amid numerous sexual harassment claims.

Then in late January, the New York district attorney announced that the former governor would not be charged, making it the last case to be dropped against Cuomo.