(The Center Square) – The gloves appear to be coming off in Albany as another investigation into the Cuomo administration is underway.
On Monday, The New York Times reported that state Attorney General Letitia James has opened an inquiry into a book Gov. Andrew Cuomo wrote last year on his management of the COVID-19 crisis. James’ office will look at what state resources were used to help write and promote the book, for which the governor received a seven-figure advance.
The report comes less than a week after state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli made a written request to James calling for the investigation.
James’ office is already overseeing an investigation led by an outside law firm regarding allegations that Cuomo has sexually harassed or groped several women, including staffers in his office. In addition, federal authorities are investigating the administration’s nursing home policies during the pandemic.
The state Assembly Judiciary Committee is also holding its own investigation to determine if the three-term governor should face impeachment. Just last week, Committee Chairman Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove, said it would also look into the book deal. Its next meeting is set for Wednesday.
Those investigations have led politicians on both sides of the aisle to call for Cuomo to resign, a step he said he would not take.
A senior adviser to Cuomo told the Times the latest investigation is a prime example of “Albany politics at its worst.”
“We have officially jumped the shark – the idea there was criminality involved here is patently absurd on its face and is just the furthering of a political pile-on,” Rich Azzopardi said.
Azzopardi also claimed that both James and DiNapoli have had conversations about running for governor. Cuomo is up for reelection next year.
Messages to both the attorney general and comptroller’s offices were not returned late Monday afternoon.
Cuomo was asked about the book deal and the resources used during a Monday morning news conference. He said some people, without identifying them, agreed to voluntarily review the book.
“You look at the people who are mentioned in the book,” he said. “I said things about people. … I wanted to make sure they were OK with the mention. I wanted to make sure that it represented what they did and the facts correctly.”
He also sidestepped the question about the exact amount of the advance and then told reporters he would “give you something to play with” as he claimed to release more information about his personal income taxes than any other public official in the country.
“I will do that again this year, and you will see everything you want to see,” Cuomo added.