According to reports, numerous current and past staffers of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have claimed that, contrary to his office’s claims, their work on his for-profit book detailing his COVID-19 response was not voluntary.
“Under New York law, Cuomo and other state employees are prohibited from using government resources for personal gain,” Fox News detailed, reporting that Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the already scandal-embroiled New York governor, said last week that “As is permissible and consistent with ethical requirements, people who volunteered on this project did so on their own time.”
“Azzopardi claimed the governor’s use of his staff was on their own time, legal and not a misuse of taxpayer money,” Fox reported.
“The staffers (or people speaking on behalf of them in some cases) reportedly told the newspaper that the work on Cuomo’s book ‘American Crisis’ was expected as part of their jobs: A ‘clear expectation that we would do political work to help with his campaign and run the governor’s personal errands in the Executive Chamber,’” the report continued.
“‘It was not optional,’ a former staffer who asked to remain anonymous reportedly told the Times Union. ‘It was considered a part of your job. Everyone knew that you did what was asked of you and opting out was never really an option,’” the report said.
Fox reported that, “It’s known that two of the governor’s top advisers worked on the book, but along with Melissa DeRosa and Stephanie Benton, several junior staffers also reportedly helped the fast turnaround of the bestseller that Cuomo published in October, just months after starting it.”
“Some of the assignments at various stages in the writing process that were often doled out by supervisors reportedly included notetaking and typing from Cuomo’s dictation, mailing out copies of the book after they were signed by the governor and on one occasion printing out an edited copy and taking it to the governor’s mansion,” Fox added.
Detailing the accusations, Fox reported that “One person with direct knowledge of a junior staffer’s involvement called it ‘patently ridiculous’ that the staffer had volunteered for the project,” and that “A second person with direct knowledge of a separate junior staffer’s involvement with the book agreed the work was done alongside government work, the newspaper reported.”
According to the New York Post, “Government staffers were reportedly helping with the manuscript by late June and early July — a potential violation of state laws that prohibit the use of public resources for personal gain.”
The New York Post added, “A state ethics agency gave Cuomo permission last July to write it — but specifically told him not to to use state ‘personnel’ or property ‘for activities associated with the book,’ The Buffalo News reported.”
The Daily Wire’s Ashe Schow reported in early April that “Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) was offered $4 million to write a book about his pandemic leadership — after his disastrous nursing home policy led to the deaths of thousands of patients,” noting that “Cuomo’s book, ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,’ portrayed him as a hero despite New York seeing more deaths than all but one other state (California).”
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