ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was ordered Tuesday to turn over to the state Attorney General's Office the proceeds of his pandemic leadership book "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic."
The state's ethics commission, known as JCOPE, gave Cuomo 30 days to comply.
The attorney general's office will decide where the clawed back money goes, whether it's to the state, the publisher, or some other entity.
Assembly member Ron Kim says the book deal cost lives and the proceeds should go directly to family advocates who lost loved ones in nursing homes.
"I was the first elected official to connect the dots between Andrew Cuomo's shady book deal and the suppression of nursing home data, which is relied on to publish this book," he said. "What was the impact of suppressing that data at the peak of the pandemic? It took our ability as lawmakers to legislate. We could've gone in a different direction to save people's lives."
Cuomo attorney Jim McGuire blasted the move by the commission.
"JCOPE's actions today are unconstitutional, exceed its own authority and appear to be driven by political interests rather than the facts and the law," he said. "Should they seek to enforce this action, we'll see them in court."
Last month, the commissioners voted 12-1 to revoke the body's prior approval of Cuomo's $5.1 million book deal.
Cuomo has been under criminal investigation into whether he used state resources to write and promote the book, which his attorneys have repeatedly denied, saying anyone who helped with the project "did so on their own time" and that Cuomo's office made every effort to ensure no state resources were used.
Before writing the book, the former governor received permission from ethics commissioners with conditions he not write on state time and that no state property, personnel or other resources could be used.
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