Albany, NY — The family of Norman Arbeeny has made a generous donation to the Empire Center to support the Center’s work to bring more openness and transparency to New York State government. The Arbeeny family dedicated the donation to Norman, the family’s patriarch, who passed away last year from the coronavirus at the age of 89.
“The Empire Center’s relentless pursuit of the truth on behalf of all New Yorkers is why our family is pleased to announce our support of the Center’s critically important work to hold government accountable and make it more transparent,” said Peter Arbeeny, Norman’s son.
In spring of 2020, Norman Arbeeny contracted COVID-19 in a Brooklyn nursing home and passed away from complications of the virus shortly thereafter. The family believes Governor Cuomo’s executive order directing nursing homes to accept COVID positive patients played a direct role in their father’s death, as detailed in a recent op-ed by Peter and his brother, Daniel.
“If it weren’t for the Empire Center’s successful lawsuit, we may still be waiting on the Cuomo Administration to release data revealing the true toll of the pandemic on nursing home residents—and the governor’s role in refusing to release this data to the public,”Arbeeny noted.
In August of last year, the Empire Center filed a Freedom of Information Law request for the state’s nursing home mortality data. After the state refused, the Center filed a lawsuit to force the Cuomo Administration to turn over this information, which they were ordered to do by a state Supreme Court judge in early February of 2021.
“The death of Norman Arbeeny is a tragedy, compounded by the Cuomo Administration’s attempts to hide important data from families who lost loved ones and the general public,” said Tim Hoefer, president and CEO of the Empire Center. “We’re grateful for the Arbeeny family’s partnership as we continue working to shed light on how state government operates,” Hoefer said.
The Arbeeny Family’s generous donation will support the Empire Center’s ongoing efforts to promote government transparency and accountability—including the Center’s most recent request for more than sixty sets of COVID-19 related data that the Governor and Department of Health have refused to proactively make public.
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.