Disgraced ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo can keep the $5.1 million he made selling his memoir about the coronavirus crisis, the state’s ethics agency narrowly decided Tuesday — when a brand-new member appointed by Gov. Kathy Hochul sided with her predecessor.
Cuomo scored six votes in his favor from members of the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, including Commissioner Randall Hinrichs, a former Suffolk County district administrative judge whom Hochul named to the panel shortly before its meeting in Albany.
Other votes for Cuomo came from Commissioner James Dering, a Cuomo appointee whom Hochul on Tuesday named JCOPE’s acting chairman, and Commissioner Juanita Newton, who was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).
The three remaining votes all came from commissioners Cuomo appointed before he resigned over a sexual harassment scandal last month.
The JCOPE commissioners voted 7-6 to revoke the July 2020 authorization its staff gave Cuomo to sell the rights to “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which was published in October.
But because the commission’s rules require eight votes for it to act, the effort was defeated.
JCOPE is supposed to have 14 members but one seat is vacant.
The move to rescind Cuomo’s approval to sign his lucrative book deal was made by Commissioner Gary Lavine, who was appointed by Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt (R-Lockport).
Lavine, a Syracuse lawyer and former US Energy Department official, has said it “was illegal, in my opinion,” for JCOPE’s staff to grant Cuomo permission to sell his memoir while in office.
“The legislative appointees to JCOPE didn’t get the information,” he told The Post in April.
“It’s wrong. It’s inappropriate.”