State Attorney General Letitia James is suddenly the talk of New York political circles after her hard-hitting report documenting how the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo has undercounted the deaths of thousands of COVID-19 nursing home patients.
The wave of patient deaths opened an avenue for James, whose office includes the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, made up of seasoned investigators experienced in nursing home probes James took that lane, resulting in the 76-page report that made national news and established her as being autonomous from a governor who is the de facto leader of the state Democratic Party.
The report amplified on criticisms that Cuomo has been getting from both Republicans and Democrats alike, some of whom have been so frustrated with delays in the release of accurate fatality data they have threatened to use subpoenas to compel the release of the information.
Karl Sleight, an Albany lawyer who is a former assistant deputy attorney general, said the issue of protecting nursing home patients presents potential opportunities for James in the months ahead.
James’ willingness to scrutinize the performance of the Cuomo administration, irrespective of the governor’s political clout, is not going unnoticed by Republican leaders.