Utica, N.Y.—New York State Senator Joseph Griffo is backing Assemblyman Ron Kim after the Democrat from Queens reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened him over the phone this past weekend. according to Kim, the governor threatened his career if he did not cover up the Melissa DeRosa phone call and issue a statement in support.
“There’s a line that you draw and any type of intimidation or threats are unacceptable,” New York State Senator Joseph Griffo said. “The governor has a strong personality and I can see him bullying or attempting to bully Assemblyman Kim and that’s unacceptable and unallowable really and can’t in any way be tolerated.”
The governor’s office denied that he threatened Kim, as they continue to deal with the aftermath of DeRosa’s phone call last week to state Democratic leaders, where she admitted they delayed sharing with the Legislature the full scope of the COVID-related death toll of New York’s nursing home residents because of concerns about a potential federal investigation by the Department of Justice. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente is calling on the governor to be accountable and transparent.
“You’ll recall the governor at his press conferences as he was instituting different things,” Picente said. “Said you know the famous words ‘blame me if you don’t like what’s going on blame me,’ but now it’s not blame me its blame everyone else, and it’s blame whatever happened somewhere that caused this.”
Griffo and his fellow Republicans have been calling for an independent investigation into the nursing home scandal, and to strip the governor of his emergency powers for months, but the nursing home controversy has pushed his Democratic colleagues to support stripping the governor of his powers, that has enabled him to control every aspect of the state’s handling of the virus.
“The problem with the executive at this point in time is the inconsistencies, the arbitrary decision making and the contradictory type of decisions that have been rendered,” Griffo said. “And give the latest illustration, using sports venues where large venues can go in under protocols and operate but small venues can not, so Madison Square Garden can open and allow fans but the Adirondack Bank Center can not.”