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Ex-governor Cuomo ordered to pay back ‘Covid profits’

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) in Albany voted 12-1 on Tuesday to claw back the profits Cuomo made from the book, saying he inappropriately used state resources – namely, the staff that worked in the governor’s office – to have it written. The only holdover was a commissioner appointed by Cuomo, according to local media.

The ex-governor has 30 days to pay the state attorney general “an amount equal to the compensation paid to him for his outside activities related to the book.” - услуги фрилансеров от 500 руб.

Cuomo revealed in May that he was paid a $3.1 million advance for ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’, and the publishing contract specified he would receive another $2 million over this year and the next. Of the $1.5 million left over after taxes and expenses, he donated $500,000 to the United Way of New York charity, and the remainder went into a trust fund for his daughters, the governor’s spokesman Richard Azzopardi has said.

“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,” Cuomo attorney Jim McGuire said after the announcement. “Should they seek to enforce this action, we’ll see them in court.”

The state ethics board had revoked its approval for the book last month, after considering evidence that Cuomo had relied on employees of the governor’s office to produce the book, published in October 2020 by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. 

Cuomo has argued that the staff volunteered their time and no ethics were breached. An investigation conducted by the state assembly, dominated by Cuomo’s fellow Democrats, found last month that the ex-governor asked the staff to perform book-related duties during their work hours, including transcribing materials, printing documents, and meeting with agents and publishers.

Andrew Cuomo resigned in August after a decade in office, following a state investigation accusing him of multiple instances of sexually inappropriate behavior with female staffers. His brother Chris was first suspended and then fired by CNN earlier this month, after details of his involvement in helping his brother with a public relations campaign became known.

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