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turn it over

Ethics board says Cuomo must turn over $5 million from his pandemic book

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has been ordered to return the $5.1 million in proceeds from his book about the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Joint Commission on Public Ethics on Tuesday directed Cuomo to turn over the money to the state attorney general's office within 30 days, The New York Times reports

The former governor, who resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment, released the book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic in October 2020, and he has been accused of misusing state resources to write it. Last month, a report released by New York's Assembly Judiciary Committee found that he "utilized state resources and property, including work by executive chamber staff, to write, publish, and promote" the book. Cuomo has said that those who worked on the book did so on a volunteer basis.  

The ethics panel previously rescinded the approval it gave to Cuomo over the book, according to The Associated Press, finding his special counsel made "material omissions and misrepresentations" about the book deal. According to The New York Times, Cuomo has already donated $500,000 in proceeds from the book to charity and placed $1 million in a trust for his daughters.

Cuomo's attorney in a statement slammed the board's move as "unconstitutional," alleging it was "driven by political interests rather than the facts and the law" and adding, "Should they seek to enforce this action, we'll see them in court."