KEY POINTS

  • The ethics panel revoked its approval after allegations that Cuomo used state resources and personnel
  • Cuomo’s spokesperson has called the decision "politically motivated"
  • The disgraced former governor earned $1.5 million from the book’s proceeds last year

Disgraced former governor Andrew Cuomo is faced with possible sanctions after a New York ethics panel revoked its approval of his $5.1 million memoir deal by a landslide vote of 12-1 Tuesday over allegations that he utilized state resources in producing the book.

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics rescinded its decision of approving Cuomo’s publication of “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” which was published in October 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported. The decision could result in sanctions over the publishing contract, the outlet reported. Cuomo will also be blocked from potentially making a profit from the controversial memoir, the report said.

The ethics watchdog’s decision came following allegations that Cuomo took advantage of state resources and his staff to publish and promote the memoir, New York Daily News reported.

Last month, commissioners voted for the hiring of an independent law firm to “conduct an inquiry into the facts, circumstances, policies and practices” by Cuomo staffers who approved the contract. The decision was made during a closed-door session. Besides the outside law firm looking into the contract’s signing, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office is also probing the alleged misuse of state resources for the memoir.

In September, James issued a subpoena for the book deal.

At the time of the book deal’s approval, Cuomo’s special counsel Judith Mogul told the commission that the ex-governor will write the book “entirely on his own time” and no state resources or staff will be used during the book’s production. Cuomo has admitted that several state staffers helped voluntarily in some tasks related to the book’s production such as editing the manuscript. Republican Commissioner David McNamara said that state resources and personnel were used throughout the memoir’s production “contrary to the representations” of Cuomo’s team.

Cuomo spokesperson Richard Azzopardi called the latest vote “politically motivated.” He argued that some elected officials often utilize state staff for political and even personal assistance, Associated Press reported.

Cuomo, who stepped down in August following allegations that he sexually harassed multiple women, including a former gubernatorial aide, earned $1.5 million from the book’s proceeds in 2020. At least $500,000 was reportedly donated to the United Way of New York State and the rest was said to have been deposited in a trust for his daughters.

Commissioners said they’re looking to at least get back some of the proceeds but it is unclear how much will be retrieved if they push through with the plan.

Andrew Cuomo left the New York governor's mansion on Monday after resigning in the wake of sexual harrassment claims Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been reportedly charged with forcible touching for a late 2020 incident that involved "intentional" groping of a former assistant. Photo: AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY