ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — The New York State Supreme Court ruled in favor of former Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE). The ethics commission had previously ordered Cuomo to pay back the $5.1 million earned from the book deal in March.
“JCOPE issued the approval for the outside activity, then unilaterally determined wrongdoing, then withdrew the approval, and finally imposed the disgorgement penalty — all without the opportunity for a due process hearing explicitly provided for under the procedures set forth in Executive Law,” the court documents read.
In November 2021, JCOPE voted to rescind prior approval for Cuomo’s book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The book was reportedly written at least in part by state employees during their off-hours.
Cuomo filed the lawsuit in April after he was ordered to repay the $5.1 million. He accused the ethics commission of violating his constitutional rights. According to the court, Cuomo’s “motion for voluntary discontinuance is granted,” meaning he does not have to repay the book deal. Cuomo’s motions to dismiss JCOPE’s counterclaims were also granted.
JCOPE held its last meeting in July and officials are now nominating members for the new Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government. “Any judicial review of any determination by the new Commission regarding Cuomo s book writing and publishing activities is premature and must await finality of the administrative proceedings,” said the court.
You can take a look at the court’s decision below: