Andrew Cuomo, the former governor of New York, was ordered on Tuesday to pay over all revenues from his pandemic book contract to the state attorney general’s office within 30 days.
The decision comes after the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) announced a re-evaluation of its approval of the 2020 tell-all film.
On Tuesday, the ethics agency commission voted 12-1 to order the former governor to pay the proceeds from his memoir to the state Attorney General’s office.
Cuomo used state resources to develop and promote the book, which was written during the pandemic, according to multiple inquiries by the state watchdog body.
Cuomo was given permission to write the book on the condition that it did not consume any state funds.
Despite being embroiled in a scandal over nursing facility deaths in New York, Cuomo portrayed himself as a hero in the book for his management of the pandemic.
Cuomo’s spokesman denounced the decision on Tuesday evening, calling it “political hypocrisy.”
Cuomo’s early management of the Covid-19 outbreak in New York was the focus of the book, which was released in October 2020.
Andrew Cuomo has slammed a decision by an ethics tribunal to require him to repay $5.1 million for his 2020 book, calling it “political hypocrisy and duplicity at its worst.”
Following an investigation by a state ethics tribunal, the former New York governor, 64, was ordered on Tuesday to turn over the revenues to the state Attorney General’s office within the next 30 days.
Cuomo’s profits from his 2020 book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” were called into doubt in October when the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) revealed that it was conducting an internal investigation concerning its initial approval of the book.
According to Quick Loans – PaydayNow, “After repeated investigations determined Cuomo used public resources to produce and advertise his tell-all book, the ethics agency commission voted 12-1 on Tuesday to force the former governor to pay the earnings from his biography to the state Attorney General’s office.
‘Gov. Cuomo is not legally permitted to retain pay… for any sort of outside action relating to the book,’ said David McNamara, a Senate Republican appointee and the commissioner.
Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesperson, denounced the decision, calling it “vengeance” coordinated by Cuomo’s political foes.
In a statement, Azzopardi said, “This is political hypocrisy and duplicity at its worst.”
Following an investigation by a state ethics tribunal, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was ordered Tuesday to turn over the revenues from his pandemic book contract, believed to be worth $5.1 million, to the state Attorney General’s office within the next 30 days.
Cuomo’s spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, has slammed the decision to make the former governor to hand over the revenues from his 2020 book to the state.
‘Governor Cuomo received a JCOPE opinion and legal advice stating that government resources could not be used – and they were not – and that any staffer who assisted in this endeavor did so on their own time, as evidenced by their timesheets.’
Azzopardi pointed out that the commission was now loaded with members who had been chosen by his political opponents.
‘If Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and Governor Hochul’s JCOPE appointees have established a new standard under which government employees cannot volunteer their own time for non-governmental purposes, they should all be held to the same standard and forced to repay the state for volunteer work on their re-election campaigns,’ Azzopardi added.
After her office’s investigative report into a plethora of sexual harassment charges levied against the then-governor by many current and former staffers drove the disgraced Democrat to quit over the summer, the ruling places state Attorney General Letitia James in the hot seat.
Now James must decide how the proceeds from the book will be distributed, whether to the state, the publisher, or another entity
Cuomo has already put $1 million of the book’s revenues in a trust for his three daughters and given another $500,000 to charity, making the matter even more difficult.
James had announced her intention to run for governor, but then called off her campaign, stating that she will seek re-election as Attorney General and continue her current duties.
The decision is the latest setback for the Cuomo family, following newscaster Chris Cuomo’s highly publicized dismissal from his $6 million-per-year CNN job earlier this month for assisting his brother Andrew in his fight against sexual harassment claims.
Cuomo’s attorney indicated moments before the decision on Tuesday that his office would file a legal challenge to the panel’s mandate that his client return the revenues from the book.
Despite being embroiled in a scandal over New York’s nursing home deaths related to COVID – a figure that his government understated, according to reports – Cuomo portrayed himself as a hero in respect to his management of the pandemic.
Cuomo celebrated his 64th birthday on December 6 with daughter Michaela Kennedy-Cuomo by his side, despite being at the center of multiple scandals. His other children and ex-wife were visibly absent.
On Thanksgiving, Cuomo shared a photo of his three daughters, Cara, Mariah, and Michaela, as well as his mother, Matilda.
After reviewing Cuomo’s techniques for preparing the memoir, the ethics commission voted to withdraw the governor’s prior approval of the book, which permitted him to profit from its sales while in office.
They decided that Cuomo broke promises not to use state resources or government employees in the development of the report.
After JCOPE revoked its initial clearance last month, Cuomo now ‘lacked the legal authorization to engage in outside action and accept pay in connection to the book,’ according to Tuesday’s resolution, authored by McNamara.
‘It is ordered that Governor Cuomo hand over to the Attorney General of the State of New York a sum equal to the money paid to him for his outside activities relating to the book by no later than 30 days from the date of this resolution,’ the panel’s resolution adds.
Cuomo’s lawyers have pledged to appeal the decision in court.
‘JCOPE’s actions today are unlawful, exceed its own jurisdiction, and appear to be motivated by political interests rather than facts and law,’ said attorney Jim McGuire ahead of the verdict to The New York Times.