The $2.5 million contract Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration signed earlier this year to retain a law firm for representation in the federal government's nursing home investigation will be paid for by taxpayers for now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday said.
"The executive chamber has retained a counsel and that is a state expense," Cuomo said at an unrelated news conference at the Javits Center in New York City. "It has been in every investigation. That's where we are now."
Asked if his campaign or his personal expenses would be used to cover the legal bills, Cuomo said, "not at this time."
Federal investigators are probing the reporting of nursing home fatalities by the state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cuomo has previously acknowledged his office could have done a better job explaining its accounting of nursing home deaths, creating a "void" in the process that was filled by misinformation.
State officials earlier this year released a higher COVID-19 death toll for nursing home residents who did not die in the facilities.
Cuomo in the past has retained taxpayer-funded counsel for prior investigations during his three terms in office.
The nursing home investigation is just one of several controversies facing the governor this year. The state attorney general's office through independent counsel is investigating allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct leveled against Cuomo this year; the governor has insisted he has done nothing wrong.
The Assembly is leading an impeachment probe of Cuomo that has drawn in the nursing home reporting concerns, the sexual harassment allegations among, the use of government aides to help him write a book about the pandemic and the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project.
The Assembly is retaining a law firm in the investigation. The contract costs $250,000.