In something of a crowning blow, disgraced former New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been ordered by state ethics officials in New York to hand over roughly $5.1 million in earnings from his 2020 pandemic memoir American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic. Penguin Random Houses's Crown imprint signed Cuomo to write the book at the height of his popularity, billing the book as a "revealing, behind-the-scenes account of his experience leading New York State through the COVID-19 epidemic."
In a 12-1 vote, the New York State Joint Committee on Public Ethics passed a resolution on December 14 ordering Cuomo to forfeit his proceeds from the book within 30 days. The resolution comes after the same committee revoked Cuomo's authorization for the book on November 16, finding that Cuomo breached his agreement with state ethics officials by, among other things, misrepresenting or failing to disclose the significant use of "state property, resources and personnel, including staff volunteers" used in "in connection with the preparation, writing, editing and publication" of the book.
A spokesman for Cuomo told the New York Times that Cuomo will fight the fight the order. “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 lawyer Jim McGuire told reporters.
The move comes a week after HarperCollins confirmed that it was canceling its agreement to publish a book by Cuomo's brother, Chris Cuomo. The younger Cuomo was fired by CNN last week after an inquiry reportedly found he had used his position to help his brother as multiple charges of sexual harassment surfaced.