Disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been ordered to repay the $ 5.1 million he received for a book he wrote during his tenure last year.
The Times Union reports that the Joint State Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) on Tuesday voted 12 to 1 on a resolution demanding that the former governor repay, within 30 days, all the money he received. in sales of his 2020 book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.” The book detailed its early response to the Covid-19 pandemic and landed on the New York Times bestseller list, apparently selling over 45,000 copies.
Cuomo’s book deal had previously been approved by the ethics committee with the requirement that he write it “entirely in his spare time, without using state resources or personnel.” However, it later emerged that he was using his own staff to help edit and produce the book; Cuomo’s spokesperson claimed staff members were working on the project voluntarily, which several state employees disputed.
JCOPE revoked its approval last month.
“Gov. Cuomo has no legal right to retain compensation … for any form of outside activity related to the book, ”said a resolution drafted by Senate Republicans appointed Commissioner David McNamara.
According to The New York Post, the panel determined that Cuomo’s profits should be turned over to the New York State Attorney General Letitia james to determine how the money will be distributed to the state, Crown New York book publisher, or others.
The Crown Publishing Group stopped promoting Cuomo’s book in March as it faced a wave of scandals, including the underestimation of the number of Covid deaths in nursing homes. Cuomo resigned his governorship in August after an investigation overseen by AG James found he had sexually harassed 11 women in the workplace.
Cuomo’s attorney Jim McGuire said in a declaration Mardi has pledged to contest JCOPE’s request to repay the book’s profits.
“JCOPE’s actions today are unconstitutional, exceed its own authority, and appear to be motivated by political interests rather than fact and law,” McGuire said. “If they seek to enforce this action, we will see them in court. “
According to the Times Union, former Onondaga County deputy general manager Bill Fisher was the only one to vote against the motion. Fisher was appointed by Cuomo to JCOPE, which regulates lobbying in New York and investigates ethics complaints against public officials, in 2019 after resigning as deputy county executive Joanie Mahoney .