New York’s now infamous corporate immunity law for nursing home executives has been placed on the legislative docket for repeal. The law, slipped into last year’s budget by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, shielded nursing homes from liability as they were forced by the governor to accept patients presumed to have COVID into their facilities.
Last Spring, while the national media was celebrating Cuomo, The Daily Poster helped break open the story of Cuomo passing the law after receiving huge campaign donations from the corporate group pushing it. As The Daily Poster reported earlier this week, the law has shielded administrators and executives from liability for a wide range of negligence claims, even those that don’t appear to be directly related to COVID.To continue reading in The Daily Poster
[EXCERPTED BY LM]
By Joel Warner
Governor Andrew Cuomo offered blanket immunity from prosecution for negligent nursing home executives last year. Now those who lost love ones during the pandemic thanks to those executives’ greed have nowhere to turn. Those who put profit over human life — and Cuomo — need to be held responsible.
As the Daily Poster reported last May, the Cuomo administration quietly inserted the liability shield provision into the state’s 2020 budget bill after a powerful health care industry group that donated more than $1 million to Cuomo’s political machine drafted and lobbied for the law.
The provision was ostensibly designed to help nursing homes as they made difficult decisions in the face of an unprecedented emergency. But the law extended the protections not just to medical staff, but also to corporate executives — and critics worried that the law would allow the facilities’ owners and operators to cut corners and risk people’s lives without repercussions.
As lawmakers pushing to revoke the measure noted in a legislative memo that month, the immunity law “egregiously uses severe liability standards as a means to insulate health care facilities and specifically, administrators and executives of such facilities, from any civil or criminal liability for negligence.”
Now, as Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes during the pandemic has exploded into a national scandal amid revelations of suppressed COVID death counts alongside reported threats against Cuomo critics and allegations of sexual harassment, the Daily Poster has found the law is indeed insulating nursing home administrators and executives from civil or criminal liability for their actions.
Over much of the past year, the provision has apparently had a chilling effect across the state, causing many lawyers to refuse all new nursing home–related negligence cases, whether or not they seem to be directly related to COVID-19, and limiting the scope of other legal actions begun before the pandemic. Though New York has seen more than fifteen thousand nursing home deaths, there have only been a handful of wrongful death cases filed in the state, according to data compiled by the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth, which has been tracking COVID-related cases.Joel Warner, Jacobin
On April 3, 2020, as the media was reporting on how New York was becoming a global coronavirus hot spot, Cuomo signed into law the state’s budget bill for the year, which included a little-noticed provision on page 347 that noted that executives, board members, trustees, and other corporate officials at nursing homes and other health care facilities “shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, for any harm or damages alleged to have been sustained as a result of an act or omission in the course of arranging for or providing health care services” related to COVID-19.
The liability shield, which covered both lawsuits and criminal prosecutions, was made retroactive to March 7, 2020. A Cuomo spokesperson would later insist the measure wasn’t due to industry influence — but lobbyists suggested otherwise.
The day before the measure became law, the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) — a major lobbying group that represents hospital systems, including some that own nursing homes, that has donated more than $1.25 million to Cuomo’s political operation — sent out a memo stating it had “drafted and aggressively advocated for this legislation.”
As GNYHA noted to its members in the announcement, “You and your heroic workers have enough to agonize over without having to worry about liability for decisions and actions made under extraordinarily challenging circumstances.”
The provision’s effect was immediate.
Holly Mosher, a partner at the Friedlander & Mosher, PC law firm in Ithaca, which focuses on nursing home negligence cases, told the Daily Poster that before then, her firm usually followed up on several reports of alleged nursing home abuse or neglect each week. Now, suddenly, they weren’t looking into any potential new cases at all. That included not just allegations of residents getting sick or dying from COVID-19 because of improper conditions, but also claims of negligence that seemed to have little to do with coronavirus at all, such as preventable injuries and bedsores, other than the fact that the incidents occurred in the middle of the pandemic.To continue reading the article in its entirety, click here.
New York is a cesspool of corruption; and sadly for those of us for whom this State has some sentimentality, we may be deluding ourselves into believing it can be fixed. absent tearing down the entire system of government and rebuilding it. It does not help that there is very little in New York that is transparent and, more to the point, even transparency is shrouded in secrecy. For instance, most states prohibit vendors who have significant state contracts from donating to politicians within the state. Sounds logical. But New York does not have such a prohibition. Couple that with the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)), which paved the way for mega-donors to give money in secret, and you have a recipe for unending money-meets politics power brokering. And the players have learned to game the system like a BlackJack card-counter plays a hand. New York has no safeguards against running amok either. And it has.
Moreover, for those of us who misguidedly thought it could not get any worse, Covid-19 made corruption that much easier. While all eyes were on the extraordinary havoc Covid-19 was wreaking on the state, and while many of us chose Cuomo’s news briefings over those of the President at the time, Cuomo was constructing a return to his donors. He had made promises that needed to be kept if he ever wanted to be President. While New Yorkers were dying, Cuomo was devising the “quid pro quo”. Sadly, the real difference between Cuomo and Trump is political sides. Both played to their acolytes similarly. Interestingly, many of Cuomo’s top donors in New York and the greater Tri-State area were also Trump’s top donors. There is an heir of true opportunism in that.
Real Estate moguls who had donated large sums (either themselves or through their attorneys) were given an “essential business” pass to continue building, or operating when all other businesses were shut down. Hospitals and nursing/rehabilitation homes were given the well-touted immunity from any and all liability for deaths that occurred during the height of the Covid-19 spread. It does not matter what was the cause of death. The immunity is very broad. Any accountability for the negligence of nursing home owners, operators and staff, if not gross negligence got a Cuomo signed pass without accountability. We have dubbed those provisions the “Granny Killer Immunity” provisions, and it is noteworthy that these hugely significant provisions were snuck into a well-needed budget bill.
And, for those mega-donors who did not need global sweeps in return for their investment in Cuomo: including exceptions to rules, regulations, standards of behavior or full on immunity, Cuomo returned his donor largesse into important and influential political positions. Some of the megadonor law firms, those responsible for deciding the political slate of Democrats who run in many counties, most notably Kings County were the beneficiaries of client satisfaction. Moreover, to add icing to the cake, the person tasked with investigating the wrongdoing within Cuomo’s administration, notably the nursing homes and the Cuomo sexual harassments allegations is also the beneficiary of many of those donations. Her hands are largely tied, the question is how she will play the political chess game.
It should be clear that where Cuomo did not directly reap the benefits of the nursing home lobby, the major New York hospital chains and the related unions, Cuomo had the benefit of donations from their lawyers and accountants, who stepped in and donated big. Some of the highest donations to Cuomo’s campaign came from law firms representing nursing homes, real estate magnates, construction contractors, their lending banks and finally union members. And, to add insult to injury, some of the top donating law firms also requested and received some of the most extensive PPP loans.
One might consider that the PPP loans actually went to donations to Cuomo’s campaigns if it all comes out in the wash.
We are not providing you with information you could not find on your own. There are countless articles that have questioned the Cuomo donations over the years. Few have connected the dots. We are directing you to the most intriguing of the articles, but there are many more. The following we have only excerpted . We encourage you to read the entire article. It tells an important historical story of who has been scratching who’s back, the graft, the political PAC’s that help to make it possible and the incestuous web of political ties and money. And… this was before Covid-19.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo Reaped $6.2 Million In Campaign Cash From 347 State Vendors Who Pocketed $7 Billion Since 2014
Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com found 347 state vendors that gave $6.2 million in political donations to Cuomo over a six-year period (2014-2019). Meanwhile, these companies reaped $7 billion in state payments.
These donations represented the equivalent of more than half of the current cash on hand – $11.9 million – in the governor’s campaign committee as of 12/31/2019, according to disclosures.
We created an interactive map displaying by ZIP Code all of the governor’s campaign contributions since 2014. Just click a pin (ZIP Code) and scroll down to see the results that render in the chart beneath the map.
Hospitals – Covid-Positive Patients Transferred To Nursing Homes
The Greater New York Hospital Association (Association) funneled $1 million to Cuomo’s re-election through the state Democratic party in 2018. That same year, the Association and the healthcare union, 1199SEIU, backed Cuomo’s healthcare “reforms” and spent $5.9 million lobbying in Albany.
By February 2020, Cuomo appointed the Association’s past chair and board member Michael Dowling along with 1199SEIU President Dennis Rivera as co-chairmen of the “Medicaid Redesign Team.” (State Medicaid was $4 billion in the red because of Cuomo’s accounting gimmicks.)
Just six weeks before the governor’s appointment, Michael Dowling gave Cuomo a $5,000 campaign donation (12/14/19). (Dowling is also the CEO of Northwell Health – which received $10 million in state payments in 2019.)
Twenty-eight days before the governor made 1199SEIU president Dennis Rivera co-chairman of his Medicaid Team, the union gave $15,000 to Cuomo’s re-election fund (1/6/2020). Since 2014, 1199SEIU backed Cuomo with political endorsements and $95,250 in campaign cash.
Real Estate, Development, and Construction Companies
Between years 2011 and 2020, real estate tycoon Scott Rechler, owner of RXR Realty, LLC, his wife, children, and affiliated LLC businesses gave $540,000 to Cuomo’s campaign fund. Family donations amounted to $385,000 and multiple LLCs funded another $155,000.
Scott’s brother, Todd, Chief Construction and Development Officer at RXR Realty, also contributed an additional $90,000 to Cuomo during the period.
We found four real estate leases owned by RXR Realty affiliated LLCs and signed by two state agencies: Office of Inspector General and Commission on Judicial Conduct. These leases were signed in the years 2014, 2019, and 2020 and are worth $41 million with $13.7 million already paid out. (Note: In 2014, RXR bought the building and the state agencies were existing tenants.)
The public has a right to know whether Cuomo was serving the public interest or his private political interest when his administration negotiated these leases. Every single transaction is a potential conflict of interest.
Furthermore, in 2011, the governor appointed Rechler to the Board of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, where he became chairman. In 2017, the governor nominated Rechler to the Board of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and he served until 2019.
Big Four Accounting Firms – $360,000 in campaign cash
The independent accounting firms, Deloitte; Ernst & Young (EY); KPMG; and PriceWaterhouseCooper collectively gave Gov. Cuomo $360,000 in campaign donations during years 2014-2019. The firms reaped $258.8 million in state payments.
Between 2013 and 2015, New York regulatory agencies and the governor investigated Deloitte, PwC, and EY for alleged wrongdoing. The firms paid $45 million and other penalties to settle the various claims.
Are these firms “independent” auditors with a fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers? We found that the firms coordinated their campaign cash to the governor giving the same amounts on the same days in the same years.
Three of the Big Four – PwC, KPMG, and EY – each gave the exact same amount of campaign cash to Cuomo during the six-year period ($88,333.33). Deloitte contributed another $105,000.
We considered flipping the video so it would not be upside down. But, this way seemed almost more fitting. in the video Aharon Teitelbaum, the Grand Rebbe of the Kiryas Joel Satmar sect is speaking about the importance of the Torah and the new scrolls. There is a great irony there, considering the blatant disregard for the sanctity of human life apparent in this vido.
It is a travesty for Jews everywhere. It is a shame that the leader of one of the wealthiest sects of ultra-orthodoxy and the religious faithful are not taught a more respectful lesson, to sanctify life.
“Massive Wedding Now in Jerusalem”
“To See and Not to Believe”
The above was a live video feed of a funeral in Israel from this afternoon, January 31, 2021 – in the middle of a pandemic. It was taken from a Facebook page, the link for which was sent to us.
There were more than 10,000 in attendance at this funeral. The government will not stop these events from happening because of the coalition Knesset and the power of the few ultra-religious ministers who hold the government hostage. The law enforcement will not step in because of the violence that ensues when when they try to prevent these events from happening.
This is an example of utter lawlessness.
In our opinion, these are large scale bio-terrorist events and should be treated as such. The leaders should be jailed. The people in attendance should be placed in a single location for two weeks so they cannot affect those people who have spent nearly a year abiding by the rules and were NOT in attendance. Medical attention should be denied to anyone who attended. There are law-abiding citizens who may need those beds.
This is wholly godless behavior. Doubtless more funerals will follow as others get sick, hospitalized and die. The end result is inevitable. The optics are terrible.
If there is Anti-Semitism, it is in this instance based upon a resentment and fear derived from actual and frightening events. This is nothing short of murderous conduct committed by a group of fundamentalist fanatics and endorsed by Israel’s government. Those in power in Israel have blood on their hands. There will be more.
To those religious and secular leaders who find this behavior reprehensible, we plead with you to step up and say something. We implore you to demand accountability. We ask that you protect the rest of us.
This is being reposted with the permission of the author. We have also posted Noodles’ donation page. It is separate from ours but we ask that you support your bloggers.
Larry Noodles has posted extensively on the Rabbi Daniel Greer case. He may be one of the foremost authorities on that subject and one of the major figures instrumental in the Greer conviction and in the corresponding civil suit victories.
The child who was abused by Greer may have Noodles to thank, at least in some small part, for the justice he sought and won. It is our hope that by publicizing this case, Rabbi Daniel Greer will be swiftly returned to prison to spend the remainder of his sentence behind bars and NOT in home-confinement, where he has been since Covid-19 provided him an excuse for release.
The child that he abused has a lifetime enchained by memories. Twelve years of Greer’s life is but a small piece of a life spent. Having said all of that, we must pose this question to our readers. Where are the Religious Leaders who should be speaking out. They should be acknowledging the tragedy in their midst. They should be expressing the shame and horror of the Greer case. They should be supporting victims. Instead… crickets. That, in and of itself, is a tragedy.
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The United States Supreme Court declined to hear “Rabbi” Daniel Greer’s appeal of the $21 million civil verdict entered against him almost three years ago in Federal Court. Greer filed a petition for certification before the Supreme Court after he had lost on appeal at the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Greer’s attorneys argued on appeal that the verdict was “excessive” and “shocking” and should either be completely set aside or reduced. The Second Circuit held the following: “The amount of compensatory damages is undoubtedly high, but we are not persuaded that a new trial or remittitur (reduction) is warranted under Connecticut law. The award here is not excessive when compared to the awards in the cases cited above. Here, the record indicates that EM suffered repeated abuse for approximately three years, from the time he was fourteen until he was seventeen years old. At certain points, EM was abused for hours at a time, on a weekly basis. The first time Greer abused EM, he plied EM with alcohol, pretended to care about EM and his family, acknowledged EM’s parents’ financial struggles, and then kissed him. Eventually the abuse included oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, and watching pornography together — while EM was a sophomore, junior, and senior in high school and Greer was a 60-something year old man.”
The New Haven Police arrested Greer a few months after the civil verdict of $20 million entered in the child rape case. If Greer had won the civil case I don’t believe that the State’s Attorneys Office would have filed the criminal case. If Greer had offered the victim a settlement, long before the civil case was filed, a civil case would have never been filed.
Greer’s attorneys also argued on appeal that the trial judge’s jury instructions pertaining to Greer’s refusal to answer questions based on his right against self incrimination was improper. The trial judge instructed the jury that they could make negative inferences against Greer due to his failure to answer difficult questions on cross examination. The Second Circuit listed the questions Greer refused to answer: Greer refused to answer whether he “sexually abused and assaulted other minors including Avi Hack” whether he “taught religious and secular studies, communal service, ethics, theology and Jewish history,” whether he “forced EM to have sex with him when he was a child at various locations in New Haven apartments he owned,” whether “he had molested EM in Greer’s bedroom” whether he “had sex with EM at a motel in Branford” whether he “forced EM to have sex with him at a motel in Paoli” whether he forced EM to have sex with him when EM was a child at a hotel in Philadelphia,” whether he “had sex with EM when he was a child at land in Hamden…”
Greer was sentenced to 20 years of incarceration suspended after 12 after he was convicted of child molestation. Greer is currently on home confinement, after he was recently released due to COVID19 in the prisons. Greer’s case will be reviewed again on February 1, by Judge Alander. Greer may or may not go back to jail. Eventually Greer will have to go to jail and spend 12 years in the custody of the Department of Corrections. Greer has already registered as a sex offender. Greer is allowed to leave his abode in order to go to doctor appointments and appointments with his attorney. A local recently told me that she saw Greer driving around in his minivan in his Edgewood neighborhood. Greer used to be known as the “Mayor of Edgewood.” Greer is now known as “The Pedophile of Edgewood.”
Greer was tried and incarcerated just before the pandemic. Greer has been in and out of prison ever since, due to issues in the prison related to the pandemic, and Greer’s age. Greer is 80 years old. At one point Greer’s son Ezi Greer drove his father to the Superior Court to turn him in to the Marshal. I was there and took pictures. I was shocked that Ezi drove his father to the prison. During the civil trial an expert testified that he had evidence that Ezi was molested by his father. Ezi Greer was active in politics in New Haven for many years, along with his brother Rabbi Dov Greer. Dov, Ezi and Avi Hack also helped run Greer’s yeshiva, where EM was enrolled. Avi Hack was also molested by Greer. Avi, Dov and Ezi protected Daniel Greer for years while Greer attracted minors to his yeshiva for the purposes of rape and abuse. After “Rabbi” Greer was sued Dov moved to Long Island, Ezi moved to Waterbury, and Avi moved to Providence RI. Avi’s father Harold Hack, who also protected Greer for year, also moved to Waterbury. Greer got Harold a job at the City of New Haven. Harold’s daughter is married to Ezi Greer.
Ezi, Avi, Dov and Harold refused to testify against Greer at Greer’s civil and criminal trials. I contacted numerous potential witnesses to testify against Greer in the criminal trial. A few showed up and testified against Greer. One testified that he was a classmate of EM at the high school and that he suspected that EM was being molested by Greer at the time he was in school. Another testified that Greer tried to molest him. A few others wanted to testify but found it too emotionally painful to show up in court and testify. I was surprised that EM had the strength to testify at the civil trial and the criminal trial. Greer’s lawyer William Ward mercilessly attacked EM at the civil trial, yelling at him calling him a “LIAR” and a “THIEF.” Greer’s lawyer Willie the Dow at the criminal trial was more respectful and didn’t yell and scream at the victim. The Dow probably learned from Ward’s mistake, attacking the victim, victim blaming, did not work out very well for Ward.
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The hypocrisy is astounding.
By proportion all over the world, the single sickest group of people to population numbers is the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community. It is in the numbers and the math speaks for itself. These rates of illness (and death) are consistent in the US (with particular attention to New York and New Jersey), in Israel (Bnei Brak, Beit Shemsh, Beitar Ilit), in Belgium (Antwerp), in the Ukraine, in the Netherlands, in England (London) and the list goes on and on. And with the increased rates of illness and flouting of Covid-19 precautions, the increase in many of these places is resentment, hatred and ultimately anti-Jewish sentiment.
Everywhere there are large groups of organized religious people (whatever the religion), the numbers of Covid-19 infected people are higher. Most religious groups have scaled down. The ultra-Orthodox have not! Where they have stopped congregating, the numbers have reduced, sometimes dramatically. Sadly, the ultra-Orthodox Jews have, in large part, not stopped congregating. The rabbis are telling them that it’s all in G-d’s hands. But, if G-d sends us a lifeboat are we not supposed to acknowledge it is there for a reason?
As those same religious Jews profess to be pious and observant, (Talmidim Chachamim) to study Torah and worship One G-d as the Chosen People, they have set aside the single most important tenet of the Jewish laws, the notion of THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE. (Pikuach Nefesh) To that, they have said a glorious F-U.Continue reading