‘Not fit for office,’ new report details Cuomo’s sexual harassment, office negligence
The report was recently released by the New York Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.
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According to a new report released by the state Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used state employees to help write, edit and prompt a book he was paid more than $5 million for and was not “fully transparent” about COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
The report also found “overwhelming evidence” supporting allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed numerous women.
“The former governor’s conduct — as shown in this report — is extremely disturbing and is indicative of someone who is not fit for office,” Judiciary Chair Charles Lavine, said in a statement.
The 46-page report was conducted by a law firm that the Judiciary Committee hired as a result of an impeachment investigation into Cuomo earlier this year.
A new report details how Andrew Cuomo and his office forced state employees to work on Cuomo’s book, urged a state ethics board to fast-track approval of the book deal, and downplayed the money the former governor stood to make from the book’s publication. https://t.co/mEXEqiVdg1— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) November 23, 2021
The committee said investigators examined “hundreds of thousands of pages of documents,” including emails, text messages, photographs, social media accounts, and phone call records, and interviews from over 200 people.
Cuomo resigned in August after a report by state Attorney General Letitia James found that he’d sexually harassed 12 women. The Judiciary Committee came to the same conclusion, saying its investigation found that “there is overwhelming evidence that the former governor engaged in sexual harassment.”
Cuomo has repeatedly denied touching anyone inappropriately, but has acknowledged that his behavior has made people feel uncomfortable. When he resigned, he apologized for his actions and thanked the women who came forward, but still insisted that he had no intentions of harassing any of his accusers.
The report also revealed that Cuomo used state resources to write and promote his book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic.
When Cuomo received permission from a state ethics commission to write the book, he agreed that “no state property, personnel or other resources may be utilized for activities associated with the book.”
Andrew Cuomo used the Governor's office as a tool for himself. To make big book money. As a means to exact revenge. To build power. To make himself a TV star.— Zephyr Teachout (@ZephyrTeachout) November 22, 2021
The Assembly Judiciary Report is a report of deep betrayal and abuse--of staff, nursing home residents, all New Yorkers
But according to the report, this agreement didn’t even last a day. Cuomo was granted permission to proceed with the book on July 16. On this same day, “metadata in the electronic agreement shows that a senior executive chamber official signed the former governor’s name on the contract on his behalf.”
Despite the pandemic that was spreading throughout his state, Cuomo had several state employees working on the book, including at least one member of the state’s COVID task force.
"These senior officials attended meetings with agents and publishers, transcribed and drafted portions of the book, coordinated the production and promotion of the book, and participated in working sessions to review and finalize the book,” the report said.
The report also found that junior members were tasked with working on the book and that it was not voluntary.
“Junior staff members were asked by senior executive chamber officials to perform tasks that were related to the book as part of their regular course of work,” the report states.
.@CharlesDLavine says of Assembly report, that not only were these offenses by @andrewcuomo impeachable, “some of this conduct is arguably criminal.”— Zack Fink (@ZackFinkNews) November 22, 2021
Cuomo wrote his $5 million book “in complete violation of the authority given to him by JCOPE.”
The report also suggested that the promotion of the book may be connected to how the state reported the number of COVID-related nursing home deaths. In a report this year, AG James found that the administration had undercounted the deaths by as much as 50%.
The Assembly probe focused on a July report from the state Department of Health on nursing home deaths that had been ordered up by the governor’s office, and which the administration had asked to be changed.
“A debate arose regarding whether to include a figure that included all deaths of nursing home facility residents, or a lower figure that included only deaths that occurred within nursing home facilities,” the Assembly report noted.
The Health Department report, which was prepared while Cuomo was working on his book deal, decided to go with the lower number, which did not account for nursing home residents who died in hospitals or elsewhere.
The Assembly report concluded that although the data was technically accurate, it could have been more transparent. It also pointed out that witnesses said that the “same senior chamber official who served as the key point person for the book made the decision that only in-facility deaths would be included.”
The findings did contain some good news for Cuomo, stating that because of his resignation, he could no longer be impeached. Several lawmakers had called for the Committee to proceed with impeachment despite his resignation.