KIYC: Murphy administration to pay additional $16M to veterans' families over COVID-19 deaths

The Murphy administration has agreed to pay an additional $16 million settlement to the families of 71 veterans who died during a COVID-19 outbreak at New Jersey’s state-run veterans homes. The outbreak at those homes was the subject of several Kane In Your Corner investigations.
More than 200 people died of COVID-19 at New Jersey veterans homes, including the Veterans Memorial Home at Menlo Park, which was the scene of the worst COVID outbreak at any veterans facility in the country. Several insiders told Kane In Your Corner that was in part because basic disease prevention measures weren’t followed.
“They were putting veterans in dirty rooms, that weren't cleaned,” one staff member said. “They were putting veterans in rooms that one person was positive for COVID and one person was not”. The staff member, one of several who spoke to News 12, asked to remain anonymous out of concern for possible retaliation.
Last year, the state agreed to a $53 million settlement with 119 families whose loved ones died at veterans homes, but 71 families filed too late to be included in the agreement. Paul da Costa, the attorney for 55 of those 71 families, says the state has now agreed to compensate them as well. Da Costa says the families will split $15.9 million, which comes to $225,000 apiece. The state will make payment in full by the end of 2022.
The settlement also does not mean the state is out of the woods. The COVID outbreak is still the subject of a federal investigation.