Most of those nurses are heroes, but some were terribly defrauded. I doubt I can take any more clients, though I keep getting calls.
When I filed a lawsuit against Krucial Staffing, I concluded that the City of New York (or one of its agencies) had hired Krucial. The employees were working in NYC public hospitals. When asked by Mother Jones if Krucial were an agent of New York City, the City declined to comment. There was no coordination in efforts between Krucial Staffers and the New York City Health and Hospitals. Indeed, HHC banned from Elmhurst Hospital, a whistleblower who dared speak to the media. The HHC refused to answer my Freedom of Information request, rejecting it on the grounds of the pandemic. This might seem reasonable, but a pandemic results from a failure of medical care as well as the improper transmission of information.
A. Krucial Staffing and the Mayor
Brian Cleary stated on KMBC of Tulsa in late March that the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, had personally called him to help with the pandemic. I heard that with my ears. However, now, if you click the link I posted about a week ago, you will see that the video has been edited to omit that assertion. It was redone, back-dated, and no retraction was posted by KMBC. Shame on KMBC. Again, a pandemic results, in part, from a lack of consistent information. I know what I heard. Brian Cleary said Mayor DeBlasio personally called him. This statement has been retracted. Why?
My connection between Brian Cleary and the Mayor (or even the City) was based, in part, on Brian Cleary’s lie. I will seek the outtakes, but no small station will care about a subpoena from a New York lawyer. KMBC should know, however, that journalistic ethics require that it make clear that “an earlier edit of this broadcast…” etc. If KMBC is journalistically ethical, it will make that clarification that it changed its reporting. I would not have wasted posting it on my website if I did not believe it to be significant evidence.
B. Krucial Staffing Distances Itself from the Mayor
Meanwhile, this weekend, my Google alerts on “Krucial Staffing” revealed something different – not from Cleary, but one of its workers – in an online periodical from Somerset, Kentucky, Commonwealth Journal. In the Journal, the staffer was quoted as saying that “Krucial Staffing . . . is working with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to staff 14 hospitals in New York.” http://” https://www.somerset-kentucky.com/covid-19/on-the-front-lines-in-new-york/article_c532849e-8ccb-11ea-ac3a-cb307827b2a8.html. How does Commonwealth Journal know this? Did it come from Brian or the nurse interviewed for the article? Is it true? Despite FEMA, is there anything connecting Krucial to the City of New York. These questions are reasonable. Krucial Staffing incorporated in 2019, so if there are no terrible Yelp reviews, that is probably by design. Meanwhile, I cannot imagine that its contract with the City or FEMA is worth anything less than in the billions.
Yesterday, the City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) rejected my request for information as to the links between OEM and Krucial. Its FOIL officer stated, “There is no contract between Krucial Staffing and OEM.” I would have thought this agency had some agreement with Krucial. And what about HHC – which can just as quickly deny connection to Krucial. But HHC stuck me with, “we’re too busy.” I appealed that determination and HHC rejected it again. Why not come out and say yes or no? OEM did. I fine-tuned my request to OEM because that agency might have subcontracted with another agency to hire Krucial Staffing. We’ll see what they say in the statutory five days, or reasonably after that.
I might have been misinformed all along, but I can’t say for sure. While there were apparent hints and I still don’t know, maybe FEMA is responsible for hiring Krucial. Thus it need not comment. This speaks to the federal government’s response to the pandemic, which, perhaps, the City didn’t want to upset because Donald Trump is withholding aid? It’s a reasonable theory.
C. Krucial’s Lawyers Threaten Gregory Antollino
Krucial’s law firm, Lathrop GPM in Kansas City, contacted me a week ago, warning me not to “publically post [or] communicat[e] false statements about” Krucial and Brian Cleary. Lathrop GPM is marketing itself to defending corporations in the pandemic. As for me, Lathrop said my “conduct . . . might” violate the Rules of Professional Responsibility in New York. He did not tell me how even when I asked for clarification. The rule in New York is that lawyers cannot invoke the disciplinary rules to obtain a “civil advantage.”
Lathrop GPM, through a high-ranking partner, probably violated that rule. Still, it failed to put me on notice as to what how I had violated any provisions of professional conduct. It merely tried to scare me. Its letter said I might be “subjecting [my]self to personal liability for defamation and trade liable.” There is no such thing in New York as “trade liable,” by which the attorney probably meant “trade libel.” Those cases are rare. Remember the trial in Texas against Oprah for saying she would “never eat a hamburger again?” She won, and it raised her stature.
Also, truth is an absolute defense in all libel actions and New York has a powerful “litigation privilege,” allowing parties and attorneys to comment on pending litigation. New York also has an anti-SLAPP statute. In theory, the anti-SLAPP is there to protect whistleblowers (like my clients or me) from filing a lawsuit then being “slapped” with a libel claim.
I believe I am protected under New York law. Nevertheless, I want to know whether the City of New York, FEMA, or both have any connection to Krucial Staffing. Why won’t the City tell the public? A sociologist was recently quoted in The Atlantic, in commenting on the pandemic and the information that will come with it, that “Alarmism is equated with misinformation . . . [b]butwhen you do have some [information] coming, no one feels empowered to say: ‘This one isn’t alarmism . . . There’s a cultural script that we play, and when the script changes, it takes time to shift to a new one.” Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist from the University of North Carolina, said this. See the entire article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/04/pandemic-confusing-uncertainty/610819/
Meanwhile, someone needs to correct the script, or stick to a consistent, truthful script by which we can all guide ourselves.