by Thomas Phippen
Federal authorities are investigating a New York health care company that received a $25 million grant after executives donated big money to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The U.S. attorney’s office in New York’s southern district is looking into whether Crystal Run Healthcare LPP improperly obtained the massive grants following two days of frenzied executive donations totaling $250,000 to Cuomo’s campaign in 2013, the Albany Times Union reported.
The investigation was revealed through federal grand jury subpoenas of current Crystal Run Health employees, two sources familiar with the investigation told the Times Union, indicating the U.S. attorney’s office is considering charges.
Several doctors associated with Crystal Run sued the company late in 2017 for making the donations with pooled company resources in October 2013.
The bulk of the donations to Cuomo’s campaign came via 10 donations of $25,000 from doctors and executives at the company — seven of whom had never donated to a New York gubernatorial campaign before then. Various doctors and executives with Crystal Run had given a total of $400,000 to Cuomo between 2011 and 2013.
The state awarded Crystal Run a $25.4 grant in March 2016 to build two health care facilities that had already been started.
“The governor needs to explain why his Health Department gave $25 million in funds meant for non-profits to a group of donors for a project they were already building,” one source familiar with the investigation told the New York Post.
“Over a year ago, we received a subpoena requesting documents and we have since complied,” Loren Riegelhaupt, a spokeswoman for Crystal Run, said. “We have no reason to believe that we are the focus of a current federal investigation. We remain focused on providing our patients with the quality, affordable care they deserve.”
The questionable timing of the donations, first reported by the Times Union in February 2017, raised questions about why Crystal Run won the grant in the first place. The $25 million grant was part of a $1.5 billion taxpayer-funded healthcare project, and Crystal Run received the largest single share of the award. It was also the only private company outside of New York City that received any money.
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