New York Governor attorney general Letitia James has opened an investigation into Andrew Cuomo’s alleged misuse of state resources to draft and promote his pandemic memoir, “American Crisis.”
Crown Publishing Group released “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic” in mid-October as New York experienced its second wave of the coronavirus. Cuomo started writing “American Crisis” as early as mid-June, when the state’s death toll had already reached high levels. The book garnered a seven-figure advance ahead of publishing.
The investigation was opened after state comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli sent a formal referral letter to James saying that the allegations warranted a criminal investigation.
Junior staff members and senior aides released disclosures specifying their work on Cuomo’s book, including revising early drafts, participating in pitch meetings, and printing and delivering pages of the manuscript to the governor’s mansion.
The referral letter from DiNapoli stated that the investigation would focus on “any indictable offense or offenses” involving, but not limited to, “the drafting, editing, sale and promotion of the governor’s book and any related financial or business transactions.”
The formal referral allows the the attorney general to open a potential criminal inquiry and gives Ms. James broad authority to prosecute “any crime or offense arising out of such investigation.”
New York’s Public Officers Law, which stipulates ethics protocol for state employees and elected officials, prohibits using “property, services or other resources of the state for private business or other compensated nongovernmental purposes.”
Cuomo now confronts four federal inquiries, among them scandals involving sexual harassment allegations and pandemic mismanagement of the state’s nursing homes. The writing and production of Cuomo’s book coincides with the time frame in which his most senior aides were omitting and manipulating nursing home death data in the state of New York.
In New York, over 51,000 Covid-related deaths have been reported to date.