Andrew Cuomo, the disgraced former governor of New York, will be forced to return the $5.1 million in profits made from his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” following a ruling by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics in a 12-to-1 vote.
This decision comes one month after the state’s ethics watchdog voted to “revoke its approval of Cuomo’s pandemic book deal because state government staffers and resources were improperly used in preparing it,” the New York Post reported.
The ethics body “rescinded its approval after concluding that Cuomo violated pledges not to use state resources or government staffers to prepare the book,” the Post explained.
The resolution said Cuomo now “lacked the legal authority to engage in outside activity and receive compensation in regard to the book” following the rescission of former approval.
“Gov. Cuomo is not legally entitled to retain compensation…for any form of outside activity related to the book,” commissioner David McNamara said.
“It is ordered that by no later than 30 days from the date of this resolution, Gov. Cuomo pay over to the attorney general of the State of New York an amount equal to the compensation paid to him for his outside activities related to the book,” the resolution says.
New York Attorney General Letitia James will be responsible for determining the future allocation of these profits.
The New York state ethics panel voted unanimously in October to launch this probe into the panel’s previous decision to green-light disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $5 million book deal last year.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Cuomo resigned in disgrace in August after a sexual harassment scandal engulfed his administration, marking the end of his three terms in office. The Democratic governor’s decision to step down came a week after a damning report from the New York attorney general’s office, which found that the governor sexually harassed multiple women.
“Given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing,” Cuomo said at the time. “And therefore, that’s what I’ll do.”
The attorney general’s report found that Cuomo violated federal and state laws by sexually harassing 11 women, including former New York state employees and members of the public. Even as he was resigning, the former governor remained firm in his denials that he did nothing wrong. Cuomo said he “deeply apologizes” to the women he offended but pleaded ignorance and took no responsibility for acting inappropriately on purpose, saying that in his mind, he “never crossed the line with anyone,” and “didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.”
The report also addressed the charges that Cuomo violated state ethics rules in writing and publishing his memoir.
“We have reviewed evidence demonstrating that, in contravention of the requirement set forth by the Joint Committee on Public Ethics (‘JCOPE”) that ‘[n]o State property, personnel or other resources may be utilized for activities associated with the book,’ the former Governor utilized the time of multiple state employees, as well as his own, to further his personal gain during a global pandemic – a time during which the former Governor touted the ‘around-the-clock’ state response to the crisis,” the report found.
It alleged that “Certain senior state officials worked extensively on the Book, including attending meetings with agents and publishers, transcribing and drafting portions of the Book, coordinating the production and promotion of the Book, and participating in working sessions to review and finalize the Book.”