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The Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted in a resolution Tuesday 12-1 to revoke the deal for Cuomo’s book touting his response to the coronavirus pandemic alleging that state resources were being improperly used to gather materials to produce the book,” according to the New York Post.
The ethics panel had previously allowed Cuomo to write “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” while he was governor paving the way for Cuomo to earn a reported $5.1 million.
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 12: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the Governor of the State of New York on June 12, 2020 in New York City. Cuomo resigned in disgrace on Aug. 10, 2021, which took effect two weeks later. (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images) (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
The resolution alleges that Cuomo pledged not to use state resources to prepare the book but says he ended up doing exactly that.
“Contrary to the representations made on behalf of Gov. Cuomo and not disclosed to the commission, state property, resources and personnel — including staff volunteers — were used in connection with the preparation, writing, editing and publication of the book,” the resolution, read by Commissioner David McNamara, a Senate Republican appointee to JCOPE adding that the book contained “serial omissions and misrepresentations…constituting grounds for revocation.”
Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi vehemently denied any wrongdoing and released a statement accusing the committee of playing politics.
“These JCOPE members are acting outside the scope of their authority and are carrying the water of the politicians who appointed them,” Azzopardi said. “It is the height of hypocrisy for Hochul and the legislature’s appointees to take this position, given that these elected officials routinely use their own staff for political and personal assistance on their own time.”
FILE – This Wednesday May 27, 2020, file photo shows New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a news conference in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
The statement continued: “This is the 3rd time JCOPE has attempted to rescind their own approval, and this amounts to nothing more than Albany political corruption at its worst. JCOPE wants to rescind an approval that was relied upon to play a political game and that means a JCOPE opinion cannot be relied upon by anyone and is subject to political winds. Our counsel’s request to JCOPE was clear, saying ‘no government resources’ would be used — consistent with that representation, people who volunteered on this project did so on their own time. Furthermore, the Governor cannot be held responsible for internal decisions over recusals and approvals made by JCOPE. They truly are a J-JOKE.”
JCOPE also claim that they did not properly vote on allowing Cuomo to write the book and the approval was instead given via rubber stamp by a staffer which they say is being investigated.
The New York Post reports that Cuomo must now reapply for approval which could potentially put his profits from the book at risk and JCOPE does have the power to order Cuomo to return profits to the publisher if he does not earn reapproval.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks before getting vaccinated at a church in the Harlem section of New York, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, Pool)
Cuomo also has the option to sue the commission which would likely take months of litigation.
Cuomo resigned from his position as governor in August after facing multiple scandals revolving around sexual misconduct allegations from 11 women and his decision to force coronavirus-infected patients into nursing homes which his critics say resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths.