AG Slows Down Efforts To Seize Profits From Cuomo Book



FILE – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference at Yankee Stadium in New York on Monday, July 26, 2021. The New York Ethics Commission still has work to do if it wants to seize the millions of dollars former Governor Cuomo earned writing a book on the COVID-19 pandemic, the state attorney general’s office said in a letter Thursday, Dec. 16. (AP Photo / Richard Drew, File)


The New York Ethics Commission still has work to do if it is to seize the millions of dollars former Governor Andrew Cuomo earned writing a book on the COVID-19 pandemic, the prosecutor’s office said Thursday. general of the state in a letter.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics gave Cuomo 30 days on Monday to return all the money he was paid by a publisher for his book “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

The commission, which exercises regulatory oversight over lobbyists and government officials, found Cuomo improperly enlisted the help of state employees to write and promote the book and, as such, had to give up to its revenues, which could reach $ 5.1 million.

In a letter to the commission on Thursday, however, the attorney general’s office said further steps must be taken before he gets involved in the attempt to collect the money.

JCOPE is expected to produce an investigation report, outlining what laws have been broken and what sums and penalties it is seeking.

Any referral to the attorney general’s office “should also include further clarification,” the letter said, including “a record of the administrative process, and legal authority for the decision, the amount of fines and penalties imposed, and a decision regarding the appropriate amount of restitution attributable to the violation of the law.

Additionally, the committee would have to document any communications it had with Cuomo or his attorneys about the order, and then show that it had exhausted its efforts to collect the debt.

“It is therefore premature to ask the OAG to begin collection efforts before a payment request is made to Mr. Cuomo, or his lawyer, and he has had the opportunity to respond to the request,” said the letter, written by the Attorney General. General Counsel, Larry Schimmel.

Cuomo’s attorney Jim McGuire, who had called the commission’s attempt to seize the profits from the book illegal, said the letter was another sign that JCOPE was acting outside the law.

“JCOPE’s actions violated fundamental constitutional rights and blatantly exceeded its statutory authority,” said McGuire. “It is not at all surprising that the anarchy of JCOPE’s latest illegal action is recognized like this.”

“American Crisis” was released in October 2020, published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. Months later, Cuomo quit amid allegations he sexually harassed at least 11 women.

Cuomo had obtained approval for his book contract in July 2020 from commission staff, after his attorney said he would not use any state personnel or resources to produce his book and that he would write it “entirely in his spare time.”

An investigation commissioned by the State Assembly concluded that, in fact, state resources and personnel were used to prepare, write, edit, and publish the book.

Spokesmen for Cuomo said all state employees who worked on the book did so in their personal time, not working hours.

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