New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lashed out at a reporter who brought up an ongoing federal investigation into a Hudson Valley healthcare company that received millions in grants after donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign.
Orange County-based Crystal Run Healthcare, which received $25.4 million in taxpayer money after doctors and administrators gave more than $400,000 in funds to the campaign in 2013, is being probed, first by a grand jury, then by the FBI.
When Zack Fink, a reporter for New York 1, asked Cuomo if he considered returning the donations he received from Crystal Run, the governor said he would if federal officials proved any wrongdoing. He then went on the offensive, turning his attention to Spectrum News, New York 1’s parent company.
According to a Huffington Post report, Cuomo said, “Speaking of fraud, Charter Spectrum has been executing fraud on the people of this state.” Cuomo said the company has failed to increase cable access to certain areas in the state.
The New York State Public Service Commission regulators announced last week that Spectrum -- the largest cable provider in New York -- failed to comply with several conditions mandated when the state approved Charter's merger with Time Warner Cable, Inc. in 2016 and was moving to prevent it from operating in the state.
“They were given a franchise for a very specific set of conditions,” the governor said, according to a transcript of the incident. “Charter Spectrum said that they would increase cable access to poor and rural communities around the state. That was the condition of them getting a franchise. Charter Spectrum defrauded this state. They are defrauding consumers.”
According to reports, seven of the donors had never made a campaign contribution within the past decade. Crystal Run, headquartered in Middletown, received the grants in March 2016, less than three years after the contributions were made. The grant was part of a $1.5 billion taxpayer-funded healthcare project, of which Crystal Run received the largest share.
Six former Crystal Run employees filed a lawsuit in December last year alleging they should have been consulted about the donations according to a Beckers Hospital Review report. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, which is running the investigation, declined comment to media outlets.
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