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Calling to investigate planned closing of WNY Children's Psychiatric Center

Steven Cohen: "When you attack our kids, you strike a nerve"

April 03, 2018 - 11:18 am
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Williamsville, N.Y. (WBEN) - Saying "the law is the law" and "when you attack our kids you strike a nerve", attorney Steven Cohen and the Save the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center Coalition are asking the New York State Comptroller to investigate Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The coalition wants Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to probe the governor’s actions and circumstances surrounding his insistence that the WNY Children’s Psychiatric Center be closed.

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Despite both houses of the New York State Legislature unanimously voting against closure, Governor Cuomo and Mental Health Commissioner Anne Marie T. Sullivan, M.D. want to close the West Seneca facility and combine it with the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The governor vetoed the legislature’s bill to keep the facility open.
In his letter to Comptroller DiNapoli, Cohen of HoganWillig, claims the Governor’s actions “violate New York Mental Hygiene Law, which provide that certain facilities may not, as a matter of law, be discontinued. The Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center is – by name – one of those facilities.”

"No good reason has been articulated for the closure of this highly successful facility", Cohen told a media gathering at his law offices Tuesday morning.

According to the coalition and Cohen, parties close to the situation say Governor Cuomo is now pressuring legislature members to allow the closing of the facility, which would then force expensive renovations of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. It would also make the 72-acre facility in West Seneca available for redevelopment.

“History has shown us that this Governor has the ability to shake down weak members of the legislature to give up their votes like so many children surrendering their milk money to the schoolyard bully,” Mr. Cohen wrote.

Medical experts in all involved fields and the patients and families served by the WNYCPC the effectiveness of the bucolic facility cannot be duplicated in the urban setting of the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.

"This Governor better be squeaky clean and our fears and suspicions better be unfounded or this Governor may find himself in handcuffs", Cohen told reporters.  “The felony convictions of the governor’s close associate Joseph Percoco for bribery involving contractors, the subsequent conviction of a contractor, and the testimony of various witnesses, including Gov. Cuomo’s long-time friend Todd Howe, concerning contractor-bribery allegations suggest the only motives that make any sense,” Mr. Cohen concluded.

AUDIO:  Attorney Steve Cohen and Save the WNY Children's Psyciatric Center Coalition

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