Manktelow Pushes to Subpoena Commissioner Zucker on Nursing Home Deaths Cover-Up

Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (R,C,I-Lyons) has joined his Assembly colleagues in calling upon their Majority counterparts on the Assembly Oversight, Health and Aging Committees to sign a petition which would send a subpoena to New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard A. Zucker to appear before the committees to answer questions regarding the state’s COVID-19 related nursing home deaths. The Assembly Minority Conference hosted a virtual press conference on Thursday, Feb. 11, after letters and the petition were sent to Majority members of the committees during the week of Feb. 1. Majority members have yet to respond to the letters or petition.

Joining the Assembly Minority Conference were Gelsey Randazzo Markese, whose 91-year-old grandmother died in a nursing home alone of natural causes, despite months of pushing for essential caregiver visits which were denied, and Vivian Rivera Zayas from Voices for Seniors, a statewide grassroots advocacy group for senior citizens who live in long-term care facilities.

Lawmakers were able to find a way to legally bypass the need for the committee chairperson to issue a subpoena to Commissioner Zucker by obtaining a majority of members who are on the committee’s signatures on a petition. This is part of Section 62-A of the Legislative Law and would require Commissioner Zucker to appear before said committee to answer any questions they have regarding the issue of COVID-19 related deaths in nursing homes.

“These families deserve answers. We shouldn’t be protecting those who have lied and covered up their mistakes for months,” said Manktelow. “As I have said before, it is high time we get some real answers, and that there is real accountability. I proudly support my colleagues in this petition to subpoena Commissioner Zucker in order to get those answers. It is unfair of us to expect a perfect response to the pandemic. None of us have ever experienced something like this before, but it is perfectly reasonable for us to expect our legislators to be honest in what is happening. I hope that our colleagues across the aisle will join us in this motion in order to bring more of the issues to light, which have occurred with the response to COVID-19 in nursing homes.”