Andrew Cuomo Sues to Keep Book Profits

( New York’s disgraced ex-governor Andrew Cuomo is threatening to sue the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) for ordering him to turn over the $5.1 million he got for writing his ridiculous COVID book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

On Tuesday, the JCOPE ordered Cuomo to turn over the proceeds to New York’s Attorney General Letitia James within thirty days. Last year, the JCOPE revoked its approval allowing Cuomo to write the book after it concluded that he violated the pledge not to use staffers and other government resources to write it.

When learning of Cuomo’s possible lawsuit, JCOPE commissioner Gary Lavine said discovery material produced in such litigation could lead to even more damning details about how Cuomo’s book deal happened, including any possible collusion between Cuomo and the pro-Cuomo faction on the JCOPE.

The Cuomo book deal was originally approved, not by the commissioners, but by a JCOPE staffer, leading many including Lavine to suspect the fix was in. Discovery could confirm the long-suspected rumors that Cuomo exerted undue influence over the ethics watchdog agency.

After the JCOPE voted 12-1 demanding Cuomo give back the money, his loudmouth jerk of a spokesman Rich Azzopardi issued a scathing statement defending the embattled governor.

Calling the JCOPE’s move “political hypocrisy and duplicity,” Azzopardi denied the claim that Cuomo used government resources and staff to assist him in the book. He argued that the staff who worked on the book with Cuomo did so on their own time.

Azzopardi said if Democrat Speaker Heastie, Democrat Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, and the JCOPE members appointed by Cuomo’s replacement, Governor Kathy Hochul want to create “a new standard” that government employees can’t volunteer their own time, then they should be “equally prosecuted” for letting government employees work on their re-election campaigns.

Under the JCOPE order, after Cuomo returns the $5.1 million to the AG’s office, the attorney general must then determine how the book profits will be disbursed to the state.

However, in a letter to the JCOPE on Thursday, lawyers from the Attorney General’s office wrote that it would be premature to ask the AG’s office to begin collection efforts before a demand for payment is made to Cuomo and his lawyers have an opportunity to respond to the demand.