Court Sides With Andrew Cuomo In Book Deal Case

(  Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will be able to keep the $5 million he got to write a book about his leadership style during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, a judge ruled in favor of Cuomo, the former Democratic governor who resigned from his post.

Initially, Cuomo received approval to write his book from The Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Crown was set to publish his book, which is called “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.

That approval was given in 2020 but then taken back the next year, after Cuomo was alleged to have not held up his end of the bargain by not using any state resources to help him write the book.

For his part, Cuomo has said that some state employees assisted him with some tasks related to the book, which included reading and editing its manuscript. He added, though, that any employees who helped him did so voluntarily and not on government time.

The commission ruled last year that Cuomo only had 30 days to turn back over the $5.1 million he received from the publisher for writing the book. Cuomo then sued the JCOPE, saying the members of the commission had bias against him, and were also violating his rights to due process.

The commission was requested that Judge Denise A. Hartman enforce their order on Cuomo, but she ruled against them on Tuesday. In doing so, the judge said it was just an attempt by the commission to sidestep basic administrative procedures, specifically because they imposed the penalty without holding an administrative hearing, which is required.

The commission is actually no longer in operation, as current Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul disbanded it earlier this year to create another one. It’s not clear at this point whether that new commission will still seek the money that Cuomo received for writing a book.

In her ruling, Hartman wrote:

“If, upon review of JCOPE’s actions, the new commission decides to pursue action against Cuomo, proceeds with the adjudicatory hearing and determines that a violation has occurred, the new Commission may then impose a civil penalty against him.”

Rita Glavin, who is serving as the attorney for Cuomo in this case, emailed a statement following the ruling. She said that the conduct of JCOPE was “shameful, unlawful and a waste of taxpayer funds.”

Members of the commission didn’t respond to requests for comments from The Associated Press.

At the height of the pandemic, Cuomo rose to instant fame and prominence within the Democratic Party for how he was handling the pandemic response in New York, where COVID-19 was hitting the hardest the earliest.

He held daily televised briefings and was widely praised for what he was doing. That led to him getting this book deal to write about his leadership tactics.

But, he left office in controversy. After many former staffers accused him of sexual harassment, Cuomo ultimately stepped down from his position in August of 2021.