Gov. Andrew Cuomo appeared to be caught off guard by a question regarding the St. Clare's pension fight.
"St. Clare pensions. I'll have to look into it,” Cuomo said Tuesday when asked about it by a reporter.
In May, state Attorney General Letitia James’ office announced it was looking into the issue. More than 1,100 employees of the long-shuttered hospital saw their pensions diminish or disappear last year because of a more than $50 million shortfall.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they've sent letters to the governor about this issue, and were disappointed by his reaction.
"It's very disheartening to see these pensioneers ignored,” said state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam). “Everybody at the state capitol should be aware of what's going on with the Saint Clare's pension crisis. This began last year when more than 1,100 former employees lost their pensions. Their lives have been turned upside down. It’s devastating our community."
State Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Clifton Park) said, “When you're preoccupied with downstate NYC quality of life issues, then you haven't heard or cared about the 1,100 outstanding healthcare professionals from St. Clare's who lost their pension funds. They don't have the juice some in NYC have, but their voices matter just as much.”
The St. Clare's Corporation, which ran the fund, filed for dissolution, but the attorney general’s office filed a series of legal objections to that attempt.
Spectrum News reached out to the governor’s office in response. A spokesperson previously said the governor could not comment on an open investigation. Wednesday afternoon, a spokesman for Cuomo sent us this statement saying in part, "The Governor is certainly aware of the St. Clare’s pension issue.
... The owner of the hospital, the Catholic Church which was responsible for its closure is also responsible for the remainder and for their employees’ fair share. We join in the concerns of the hospital’s former employees and await the results of the Attorney General’s investigation.”