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Andrew Cuomo Ordered to Return $5.1 million in COVID Book Deal

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Disgraced former New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo got more bad news on Tuesday from a state ethics committee regarding the millions he was paid in an advance for his book on how he handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, according to reports, Cuomo was ordered to return $5.1 million he earned for his tome, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which ignored his role in ordering nursing homes early on to take in coronavirus-infected patients, a decision that some analyses said cost thousands of people their lives.

National Review reported:

In a near unanimous decision, a twelve to one vote, the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics passed a resolution demanding that Cuomo return his earnings from the book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” This comes a month after the panel rescinded its prior approval giving the now disgraced governor permission to keep the book side hustle while he was still serving as governor of New York, confronting multiple scandals simultaneously.

Over the summer and into the fall, the New York attorney general’s office launched a probe into Cuomo’s alleged abuse of state resources, including staff members, to draft and promote his book. During that criminal investigation, Attorney General Letitia James subpoenaed the ethics panel for information related to the book deal.

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“New York’s ethics watchdog panel ordered disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo to return the $5.1 million in profits from his pandemic book deal to the state next month,” the New York Post reported.

“The extraordinary resolution was approved by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Tuesday in a 12 to 1 vote,” the Post continued.

“JCOPE rescinded its approval after concluding that Cuomo violated pledges not to use state resources or government staffers to prepare the book,” the report added.

“The resolution, drafted by commissioner David McNamara, a Senate Republican appointee, said Cuomo now ‘lacked the legal authority to engage in outside activity and receive compensation in regard to the book’ since JCOPE rescinded its approval,” the paper continued.

Cuomo was paid millions for a book that dealt with his handling of the pandemic — while the pandemic was still evolving.

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed Monday that he was paid a $3.1 million advance to write his COVID-19 leadership book last year and under his publishing contract will make another $2 million on the memoir over the next two years,” the AP reported in May.

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“At least 52,987 people have died of COVID-19 in New York, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine,” the report noted.

The America Institute for Economic Research laid out in some detail the scope and context of Cuomo’s nursing home disaster:

“On March 25th, Governor Cuomo issued an executive order forcing nursing homes to receive patients from overflowing hospitals. The order mandates that “During this global health emergency, all NHs must comply with the expedited receipt of residents returning from hospitals to NHs”.

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As a result over 4,500 COVID-19 patients were forcibly transferred from hospitals to nursing homes regardless of their capacity to accept them. According to the Associated Press, “New York has not mandated testing in its more than 1,150 nursing homes and long-term care facilities”.

In fact, the executive order went further to forbid the required testing of COVID-19 within the facilities. The language was as follows:

“No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”

Not only were nursing homes compelled to accept patients that were hospitalized for COVID-19, but they were barred from conducting further tests to ensure continued safety.

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