ALBANY — An elected official who has seen the Assembly Judiciary Committee’s impeachment investigation of ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the findings — which include new details about sexual harassment allegations, his $5.1 million pandemic book deal and coverup of nursing home deaths — would have been grounds to impeach.
Assemblyman Phil Steck (D-Colonie) reviewed a copy of the panel’s 45-page report Friday morning and told The Post the findings show a pattern of “profoundly disturbing” conduct by Cuomo.
“The main thing is, [what’s] profoundly disturbing is the governor’s conduct. It strongly corroborates and enhances the findings of the attorney general’s report that the governor was sexually harassing women in his office,” Steck said, referring to the bombshell Aug. 3 sexual harassment report released by Attorney General Letitia James that found Cuomo sexually harassed 11 women and allegedly broke multiple state and federal laws.
Cuomo announced his resignation a week after the report was made public.
Steck said the shocking findings also include the most information to date published in a written analysis on Cuomo’s $5.1 million pandemic memoir “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic” as well as how the ex-gov and his top aides worked to conceal the true number of nursing home deaths since March 2020.
Steck said “yes” the report would have laid the groundwork for the state Assembly to proceed with drawing up articles of impeachment if Cuomo hadn’t resigned.
When asked why the Assembly can’t — or won’t — move forward with impeachment proceedings now he said the effort would have been too costly.
The Assembly has already amended its contract with the white shoe law firm handling the probe — Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP — to spend a high of $5.1 million.
The probe was first announced in early March of last year by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-The Bronx).
“It would have probably ended in a giant legal battle that’s extremely costly. It’s not a sensible expenditure for taxpayers and it might not be upheld by the court of appeals. But we felt we had spent all this money and all this time on developing the facts and so the report is the product of that request.
“On the book deal, this provides the most information in a report that we’ve seen to date. It starts with how the deal came about. The governor used the executive chamber staff as a vehicle for writing the book for his personal gain,” Steck said.
“He was using his staff to promote the book and coordinating that with the publisher. The governor took the position that ‘the rules that apply to everyone else don’t apply to me.’
“Third, on the nursing homes, the report established that the governor made a material misrepresentation concerning the nursing home deaths,” he continued.
“The Department of Health was prepared to report a number of nursing home deaths — including people who both died in the nursing homes and those who were infected and taken to the hospital for treatment where they later died — and the governor’s office made sure only the number of those who actually physically died in a nursing home were included,” he added.
Cuomo faces separate probes by the FBI/US Eastern District of New York regarding the book deal and state Attorney General Letitia James is conducting her own criminal inquiry into the nursing home data.
“The Assembly Judiciary Committee has chosen not to review their findings with us, which is their prerogative, but it may once again result in a one-sided report,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi in a statement.
“However, we must all live within the same standard. State employees volunteered to assist the governor with his book American Crisis and now the Assembly apparently wants to criticize them,” he said.
“If they want to set a new standard that is also their prerogative — but the current standard is that a state employee can volunteer in a personal or political effort as long as they take time off so that there is no cost to the state.”
However, at least one staffer said they felt pressured to help work on the book arguing it “interfered” with the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response, state Assemblyman and ranking Republican committee member Mike Montesano (R-Hicksville) told The Post.
Committee Chairman Charles Lavine (D-Nassau) said the report will be released to the public “soon” but didn’t give a specific date, according to sources.
The sources said several lawmakers from the 21-member committee still have to review the analysis and are expected to do so over the weekend.