Andrew Cuomo, whose mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic cost New York taxpayers millions in lost revenue and pushed them into a budget crisis they are still struggling to emerge from. The disgraced ex-governor was ordered by an ethics panel on Tuesday morning to cough up $5.1 million for his crimes against society as he pocketed money made off people during the pandemic.
The Joint Commission on Public Ethics gave their approval for Cuomo to earn outside income while still being governor in a 12-1 vote. However, the ethics agency has now voted to revoke its prior approval, claiming that Cuomo violated promises. He used state resources and employed staff members.Cuomo’s book proceeds are requested to be turned over to state Attorney General Letitia James. He must pay the money back next month or face more severe consequences.
Cuomo’s team was also accused of low-balling coronavirus-related nursing home deaths while he negotiated the book deal, leading to accusations that they were trying to look better than their competitors in order to make a quick buck off this tragedy.
Cuomo’s lawyer, Jim McGuire, went so far as to say that JCOPE’s decision was illegal and would challenge it in court.
“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,” Jim McGuire responded.
Commissioner David McNamara, a Senate Republican appointee and the chairman of JCOPE’s ethics committee, says Cuomo “lacked the legal authority to engage in outside activity and receive compensation from authors” since his approval was rescinded.
McNamare went on to say,“Gov. Cuomo is not legally entitled to retain compensation … for any form of outside activity related to the book.”
While some feel that the money should be given to the families who lost loved ones because of Cuomo’s negligence, it will be up to state Attorney General Letitia James to determine how and to whom the profits would be distributed.