New York state Attorney General Letitia James has issued at least one subpoena to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics for all records pertaining to disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $5.1 million book deal as part of her office’s criminal investigation into the matter.
JCOPE, the state’s watchdog panel, approved Cuomo’s application to receive outside income from the book during the summer of 2020, but the decision has been controversial, as it was subject to internal approval by JCOPE staffers instead of a full panel vote.
A representative from James’ office declined to comment on the issuance of the subpoena, which was first reported by the Albany Times Union.
The criminal probe — first launched in April following a referral from Comptroller Tom DiNapoli — is investigating whether state resources were improperly used in the production of the book including “the drafting, editing, sale and promotion of the Governor’s book and any related financial or business transactions.”
Cuomo’s office claimed state officials volunteered their time to work on the book during the summer of 2020, but it has been revealed that top staffers like SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras helped edit and fact-check the book, at the request of former Cuomo top aides Melissa DeRosa and Stephanie Benton.
Malatras has said he worked on the book during at least two weekends and took two personal days off from his then-job as president of SUNY Empire State College.