Andrew Cuomo is ready to fight against the very ethics panel he set up to try to keep his $ 5.1 million pandemic-unexpected book deal.
A lawyer for the former governor, who was forced to resign, threatened on Wednesday to sue the state ethics council for trying to recall payday, which Cuomo received for his written memoir on the COVID-19 scourge – and accused officials of trafficking. ” for inappropriate political reasons “.
In a letter to the chairman of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, Cuomo’s lawyer James McGuire formally put the agency’s commissioners and staff “on notice that they must keep all records” related to their consideration of the controversial book deal.
McGuire said JCOPE had violated Cuomo’s “rights to the protection of justice under the US and New York constitutions and held JCOPE and its commissioners liable under [federal civil rights law]. “
“The Governor will seek the courts’ intercession to protect his rights and prevent further abuse by JCOPE of its authority,” he wrote.
McGuire also said that “JCOPE’s actions at least support the reasonable conclusion that it acted for inappropriate political reasons.”
JCOPE President Jose Nieves – who was appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul following Cuomo’s resignation over allegations of sexual harassment – told The Post: “We would not have taken the action if we did not feel it was appropriate.”
Nieves declined to comment further, saying he had not yet seen McGuire’s letter.
A top JCOPE staffer approved Cuomo’s lucrative deal for “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” in July 2020.
But that approval was revoked by JCOPE commissioners in November by a 12-1 vote on the grounds that Cuomo violated an agreement not to use government employees to help prepare the book, which he claims they did voluntarily.
JCOPE also ordered an inquiry into the initial green light for Cuomo’s agreement.
Last month, the board again voted 12-1 to order Cuomo to hand over his earnings.
In both cases, the lone dissenter was William Fisher, a Cuomo nominee.
But two days after the second vote, Justice Minister Letitia James’ office told JCOPE that its order could not be enforced because it had not specified specific violations of state law or specified the amount of money Cuomo earned that “can be attributed to sanctions and disgorgement. “. . “
Nieves replied that JCOPE was “authorized and obliged” to act and asked James to “support the Commission’s efforts to seek an appropriate civil process that will hold the former governor accountable.”
Meanwhile, a JCOPE commissioner has warned that a case from the former governor could reveal damaging information on how he obtained the agency’s first staff approval.
“I do not think we have all the details of the book deal,” Commissioner Gary Lavine said last month.
“Every time the bookstore is subject to legal action, it is subject to scrutiny.”
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