(HorizonPost.com) – In July 2020, former Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) asked the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) for permission to write a memoir. In a 12 to 1 vote, the members approved his request, and he proceeded to write and publish the book with Penguin Random House subsidiary Crown Publishing. However, following his sexual harassment charges at the end of October, the group decided to rescind the approval — and he could lose millions.
The Original Deal
When Cuomo requested approval to write his book entitled “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic”, he was serving in his role as governor. The commission had a specific condition for him to follow: the former leader couldn’t use state resources or personnel during any stage of the book’s creation and publication.
Upon further investigation, one of the commissioners, Gary Lavine, stated he now believes Cuomo lied when filling out his initial application. Most of the members felt that the ousted governor defied the one stipulation for permission to write his memoir. The ex-governor’s lawyer Jim McGuire insisted JCOPE has a baseless claim, and he plans to contest it in court.
The commission has yet to decide if it’ll demand that he return the $5.1-million profit to the publisher. It recognizes the process could take years to litigate.
The committee alleges the staff members who assisted the book’s creation directly violated the conditions of the ethics approval. However, legal experts are unconvinced the argument will survive the court’s scrutiny.
Cuomo’s spokesperson Rich Azzopardi thinks the commission’s decision is ridiculous. He said anyone who helped the previous governor with his book volunteered on their own time and he used no state resources. Plus, he said JCOPE doesn’t have the authority to reverse such a decision. Azzopardi also accused the group of playing politics and doing so would ultimately dilute the community’s respect for its authority.
Reports say that of the $5.1 million, the politician took $1.5 million for himself, gave half a million to the United Way of New York State, and created a trust for his daughters with the rest. Returning the money would affect not only him but his chosen charity and his children.
There’s speculation on both sides of the situation backing each position. Only time will tell who will prevail. Neither JCOPE nor Crown Publishing commented further on the matter.
Copyright 2021, HorizonPost.com