Assemblyman says Gov. Cuomo threatened him over nursing homes scandal

Ron Kim, a progressive representing Queens who has been among the most vocal critics of Cuomo's handling of nursing homes during the pandemic, believes his own uncle died from a presumed case of COVID in a nursing home last year.

Video Transcript

ANDREW CUOMO: I've had a-- my office, more than me, has had a long and hostile relationship with Assemblyman Ron Kim-- Ron Kim. It goes back to the issue on nail salons. We passed the bill-- that we worked very hard-- to protect nail salon workers who were often victimized by businesses, exposed to dangerous chemicals. Wage theft was prevalent.

We passed a bill. Assemblyman Kim supported the bill. He then flipped 180 degrees because the nail salon business owners found the bill onerous. There was a big "New York Times" story on it at the time that said, basically-- and I don't want to paraphrase the "Times" story, but it basically said he supported the bill. He signed the bill. He was at the bill signing.

Then the business people in his community got upset, and then he changed his position, actually used his lobbying firm to lobby on behalf of the business owners, continue to use that lobbying firm and their political operative as his own, and then raised money from those business owners and continues to.

And I believe it was unethical, if not illegal, and I believe it's a continuing racket because he's still doing it. Citizens Union says in the "New York Times" piece that corrections are always needed when enacting policy, but it doesn't look right when this new bill is coming on the heels of strong financial support from the nail salon owners.

The euphemism is pay to play. And I believe that, as I said, Mr. Kim acted unethically, if not illegally, on that matter. And my office is in that story. So it's been a long-running situation.

But as far as his point that we didn't provide the Department of Justice with information, that is 100% wrong. He knows it. We paused the state legislature's request for information, which I've now said 15 times, so we could comply with the Department of Justice information. And the assembly in the senate knew we paused the state legislative. And there is no obstruction of justice in not providing the state legislature with information. And they knew about it. So that is 100% wrong.

As far as the suggestion that the immunity bill for hospitals and nursing homes was passed because of campaign contributions, which is the allegation against Mr. Kim, right? That bill was passed in the budget by the assembly in the senate. So if he wants to accuse his assembly colleagues and senate colleagues of the same conduct he's been accused of-- pay to play-- that's what he's doing.

For the post and-- oh, also, with Mr. Kim, he has a meeting last week with other legislators and members of my staff. On the tape at the meeting, he says positive things. There's then a story that moves in "The New York Post" where he says the exact opposite and is very negative in quotes.

I called him up, and I said, I don't understand. You were positive and said positive things in the meeting, and then "The Post" has you saying negative things. He told me, "The Post" has misquoted me. And I called the "Post" reporter, and she refused to correct it.

I said, really? Yes, she refuses to correct it. I said, well, my suggestion is you then do a statement where you put out your correct statement. Because if, you know, the reporter doesn't want to include it, fine. Then do a statement that corrects it. Yes, I will do that, he says. And then he never did it.

So, so much for Mr. Kim's credibility. And I said to him on the phone, you know, there is still integrity and honor and decency in politics. But that's that for Mr. Kim.