Cuomo Is Ordered to Forfeit Earnings From $5.1 Million Book Deal – The New York Times
ALBANY, N.Y. — A New York State ethics board ordered former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday to turn over millions of dollars in profits from his coronavirus pandemic memoir, giving him 30 days to comply.
The extraordinary directive is the latest development in a fall from grace for the former governor, who in the span of just four months lost his job and reputation, and who is now facing a criminal trial after being accused of groping an aide in the Executive Mansion.
It was not long ago that Mr. Cuomo was at his peak, winning nationwide acclaim and landing a lucrative book contract in the first months of New York’s pandemic crisis. The resulting memoir, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” was intended to capitalize on the moment and give him a financial cushion that would safeguard his future.
But by a 12-1 vote on Tuesday, the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics stripped him of all of the book’s proceeds. The board had previously ruled that Mr. Cuomo had received authorization for the deal under false pretenses, and it decided on Tuesday that he was not entitled to keep any of the profits from it.
The board’s decision rests on Mr. Cuomo’s application for approval of the book deal, in which his lawyer vowed that “no state property, personnel or other resources may be utilized for activities associated with the book.”
The commission contended that Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, broke that promise when he availed himself of administration officials and lower-paid aides to help him with writing, editing and publication.
The order, which is sure to set up a protracted legal fight, could be further complicated by Mr. Cuomo having already donated $500,000 of the book’s proceeds to a charity, the United Way of New York State, to support its Covid-19 efforts. He also placed $1 million in a trust for his three daughters.
Mr. Cuomo’s team has said that it was in close contact with commission staff and that it had followed all advice and precedent in requesting approval for the book deal. Richard Azzopardi, Mr. Cuomo’s spokesman, characterized the ethics board’s order as “political hypocrisy and duplicity at its worst.”
He added: “Any staffer who assisted in this project did so on their own time.”
Jim McGuire, a lawyer for Mr. Cuomo, said the …….