Cuomo’s attorney called the action “unconstitutional” and vowed to challenge it.
An ethics commission has ordered former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to turn over $ 5.1 million in proceeds from his book on Pandemic Leadership to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.
The State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) has given Cuomo 30 days to comply with Tuesday’s order, which comes a month after the panel voted 12-1 to revoke its pre-approval of the ‘lucrative book deal for “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
The attorney general’s office will decide where the money goes – whether it is to the state, the publisher of the book, the Crown Publishing Group, or some other entity.
A lawyer for Cuomo called the action “unconstitutional” and promised to challenge it in court.
“JCOPE’s actions today are unconstitutional, go beyond its own authority and appear to be motivated by political interests rather than fact and law,” lawyer Jim McGuire said in a statement. “If they seek to enforce this action, we will see them in court.”
The ethics committee previously found that Cuomo misrepresented the subject of the best-selling book, and how far he was writing it, in his request for approval, as well as denied his book contract to the commission. , according to a resolution of JCOPE.
Cuomo received a $ 3.1 million advance to write the book, which was released in October 2020, and is expected to earn an additional $ 2 million over the next two years, the Associated Press reported in May. Cuomo donated $ 500,000 of his book’s profits to the United Way of New York State and was putting the rest in a trust for his three daughters, according to the AP.
The order is the latest setback for Cuomo, who resigned in August following a months-long investigation by state attorney general Letitia James, who accused him of sexually harassing 11 women, including current and former government employees. Cuomo has denied all allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment.
Cuomo is due in court early next year on a sex crime case brought by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
In the wake of the fallout from the Attorney General’s investigation, Cuomo’s brother Chris Cuomo was fired by CNN earlier this month for his role in defending the former governor in the middle sexual harassment charges. Custom House, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has also abandoned plans to publish former CNN host’s pandemic book “Deep Denial,” according to the AP.
ABC News’ Mark Crudele contributed to this report.