A recent decision by the state’s ethics panel may force Andrew Cuomo to return some of the millions of dollars he has made from his pandemic memoir.
The Albany Times Union reported that commissioners for the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics voted 12 to one to revoke approval for the former governor’s pandemic-era book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic. The panel had previously held a vote to rescind the approval, only for it to fail by a small margin.
Cuomo reportedly received $5.1 million from Crown Publishing, an imprint of Penguin Random House, for the book, which was published in October 2020. The former governor can apply for approval again if he wishes, but if he’s denied it once more, he could have to pay back millions of dollars to his publisher.
Cuomo has faced scrutiny for the publishing deal following reports that the employees who worked on the book did not do so on a voluntary basis, as was previously stated by Cuomo’s team. Attorney General Letitia James opened an investigation into the claims to determine whether state resources were misused in the memoir’s composition. That investigation is ongoing.
Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s spokesman, criticized the decision in a statement, claiming that the panel is a “J-JOKE” and “acting outside the scope of their authority and are carrying the water of the politicians who appointed them.”