New York’s ethics panel ruled Tuesday that Andrew Cuomo must relinquish the $5.1 million sum he was paid for his pandemic-era memoir because it determined he improperly used state resources for personal gain.
The Albany Times-Union reports that the Joint Commission on Public Ethics gave Cuomo 30 days to turn over the money to the attorney general’s office, which will then determine if the money will be given to the book’s publisher, Crown Publishing, an imprint of Penguin Random House, or to the state Treasury.
Jim McGuire, a lawyer representing Cuomo, threatened legal action if the panel’s order is enforced.
“JCOPE’s actions today are unconstitutional, exceed its own authority, and appear to be driven by political interests rather than the facts and the law. Should they seek to enforce this action, we’ll see them in court,” McGuire said in a statement.
In November, the panel’s commissioners voted to revoke its previous approval of American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic after reports that Cuomo utilized state resources and employees to work on the book, which was released in October 2020.
Cuomo’s team previously reported that the former governor donated $500,000 of his payday from the book deal to United Way of New York State and later placed $1 million in a trust for his daughters.