New York AG questions attempt to recoup Andrew Cuomo’s ill-gotten gains

New York AG questions attempt to recoup Andrew Cuomo’s ill-gotten gains

Earlier, we wrote about how an ethics commission in New York wanted disgraced former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to return $5.1 million he made writing a book about how great he was at handling the coronavirus pandemic. (During the pandemic, thousands of elderly New Yorkers died in nursing homes that Cuomo ordered to accept coronavirus patients. Over 9,000 coronavirus patients were sent into state nursing homes, and over 15,000 long-term care residents died, with Cuomo attempting to conceal the cause of many of their deaths).

But now, it looks like New York’s progressive Attorney General is putting up obstacles to clawing back the money. Jazz Shaw writes at Hot Air:

Earlier this week, we learned that the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) had rescinded their approval of Andrew Cuomo’s book deal from last year and ordered that he turn over the $5.1 million he received as an advance to the state Attorney General, Letitia James. That would clearly be a bitter pill to swallow for the former governor and his attorney said he would “see them in court” if they tried to collect. But now a new wrinkle in the story has emerged. The designated recipient of all of that money has some questions she would like answered before anyone starts unloading pallets of cash at her doorstep. Attorney General James has issued a statement saying that JCOPE needs to provide her with the details of how this repayment would be legally handled. Or at least that’s the story her office is feeding to the public for now.

The Associated Press says:

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New York’s ethics commission has more work to do if it wants to seize the millions of dollars former Gov. Andrew Cuomo earned writing a book about the COVID-19 pandemic, the state attorney general’s office said in a letter Thursday…

The commission, which has regulatory oversight over lobbyists and government officials, concluded Cuomo had improperly gotten help from state employees to write and promote the book, and as such had to forfeit his earnings, which could reach $5.1 million.

In a letter to the commission Thursday, however, the attorney general’s office said more steps had to be taken before it would get involved in trying to collect the money.

Shaw says:

It doesn’t seem entirely clear whether JCOPE has the authority to claw back an ethics approval that they had already issued after the payment was made. Even less clear is how such a disbursement of funds would be made. So there may be more to this story than initially meets the eye.

The AG is specifically asking for an entirely new investigative report detailing which laws have been broken and what financial penalties are allowed in response, including specific sums. She’s also seeking “a record of the administrative process, and the statutory authority for the decision.” Hinting at even more reluctance to get involved, James also wants proof that the commission has “exhausted efforts to collect the debt.”

LU Staff

LU Staff

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