Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Will Federal Prosecutors Investigate Andrew Cuomo's News Corporation Book Deal?

Fred LeBrun in the Times-Union:

A book deal with HarperCollins over his selective memoirs called "All Things Possible," published last fall, has for months been sold to the public by the governor himself as a straightforward, ethical arrangement with which no reasonable individual could possibly find fault or even question.

True, a lot of money is involved, the better part of a million bucks, and very few books have been sold — around 3,000. Equally true, the contract has not been made public, so we are kept in the dark about its terms — a Cuomo administration specialty.

But it's apparent Andrew Cuomo has made himself an extraordinary arrangement under which he gets to keep some $800,000 when all the installments are paid out, presumably whether another book is sold or not.

What a splendid contract. Almost too good to be true.

And the best part for the governor is the money doesn't go to charity, or back into the state's general fund, or even his campaign fund. It goes right into his pocket.

LeBrun points to the David Sirota report that the Cuomo administration was lobbied both before and after Sheriff Andy was given the book contract by the owner of HarperCollins, News Corporation, and News Corp received tens of millions in tax breaks as a result of that lobbying as reason why a skeptical public and press might want to know the details of Cuomo's book contract.

But Cuomo says oh pshaw:
The INT connected a large number of dots that on paper at least show the appearance of a huge potential conflict, and at the least cast an ugly light on that gobsmacking great book deal of the governor's. When he was asked about the INT revelations, Cuomo dismissed any hint of impropriety. He said: "I have no idea that they lobbied for it. I don't even know what it is, by the way."

That doesn't sit well with LeBrun who says Cuomo needs to reveal the details of the book contract:

So we are to take the governor's word for it. A governor who is almost the definition of a micromanager is telling us he's not aware of multiple lobbying efforts on a number fronts by one of the leading media conglomerates in the world going back to his days as New York's attorney general.
Maybe so. But we should be told a lot more, not less, about this wonderful book deal.

Such as: the contract. Let's see it. The governor claims he got a waiver from his Joint Commission on Public Ethics to publish and market the book. Well, let's see that too. Let's see what restrictions were placed on him, it any, and which commissioners signed off on it. Let's find out from HarperCollins how many of these sweetheart contracts are out there, how unusual this is.

Let's find out who approached whom. Did the governor's agent approach HarperCollins, or vice versa? Under oath would be nice, but how likely is that? Or, for that matter, how likely is it that any state agency or investigative agent will scrutinize the book deal of the century?

They all live in terror of the Dark Prince. Oh, where art thou, Preet?

So far, Cuomo refuses to reveal the details of the book contract publicly.

It's long past time this matter receive some scrutiny.

Will it?

It would seem only the feds can handle this matter.

Will they?


  1. Maybe News Corp. has "contributed" to Lee's career as well...?

    1. Yes, good point. We can't know without an investigation.

  2. Great piece
    Time to stop preaching to the choir on this blog and send this to a newspaper or something - how about NY1 - inside city hall or
    the call?

    1. Nahh - Fred LeBrun wrote the great piece. I just posted about it. And LeBrun's piece was in the TimesUnion, was linked to in the State of Politcs, Cap Confidential and Capital NY morning political updates - that's pretty widespread. My writing a letter that doesn't get published in the DN or leaving a comment for NY1 that doesn't get listened to won't increase the circulation of the LeBrun piece.