The complaint, filed with two state agencies by a Republican foe late Friday, says members of Cuomo’s State Police detail allegedly “forcibly ejected individuals from book-tour events that asked questions not pertaining to his book.’’
The complaint was referring to at least one alleged incident involving an Iona College freshman, Bill Maloney.
Maloney told The Post that he was “pushed away’’ from the governor at Cuomo’s recent book-signing at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan when the student tried to question the governor about the Moreland Commission scandal.
Maloney said he didn’t know whether it was the governor’s aides or state troopers who pushed him away.
But the lawmaker who filed the complaint — Assemblyman Steven McLaughlin (R-Rensselaer), a strong backer of Cuomo’s GOP gubernatorial rival, Rob Astorino — says he wants the incident investigated to find out. He added that he has been told of similar complaints.
Cuomo’s camp flatly denied the allegation.
A spokeswoman for HarperCollins, Cuomo’s publisher, added, “I was next to Governor Cuomo’s side at the signing table throughout the entire night.’’
The alleged incident involving Maloney “never happened,’’ she said.
McLaughlin’s filing also questions whether Cuomo violated ethics laws by appearing on David Letterman’s “Late Show’’ on CBS last week to peddle his book, for which he is reportedly being paid about $750,000.
The appearance could be an “impermissible gift,’’ since “CBS recently negotiated with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office a tax break for the ‘Late Show’ of at least $16 million,’’ reads the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The Post.
“Does the opportunity of a coveted guest spot on the ‘Late Show’ constitute an impermissible gift from CBS to Gov. Cuomo pursuant to [the] Public Officers Law?” the complaint asks.
In addition to possible ethics violations, the governor’s actions raise “issues as to whether Gov. Cuomo violated penal law . . . which establishes an ‘E’ felony for state officials who obtain ‘services or other resources with a value in excess of $1,000 from the state’ for personal gain,’’ according to the complaints.
McLaughlin’s two-page complaint was hand-delivered to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and the state Board of Elections.
“We have a governor who is out shilling books for his own personal gain,” the lawmaker told The Post. “He’s using state resources, the State Police, state employees, for his own personal gain, and that’s wrong,”
McLaughlin said he isn’t expecting a swift, pre-election response to his complaint from JCOPE or the Board of Elections, “given their history and how political they are.’’
Both agencies have repeatedly been accused of being controlled by the politicians whose behavior they’re supposed to oversee.
A Cuomo spokesman, Rich Azzopardi, responded to McLaughlin’s filing by saying, “Pure and simple, this is a crackpot complaint devoid of facts or merit.’’
Cuomo’s former law-school professor also is blasting the governor — for “politicizing the [judicial] appointment process’’ by dumping longtime Court of Appeals Judge Victoria Graffeo.
Albany Law School Professor Michael Hutter, himself a one-time finalist for the court — the state’s highest — told The Post he’s convinced the only reason Cuomo picked Appellate Division Justice Leslie Stein, a Democrat, on Friday to replace Graffeo was because of Graffeo’s Republican affiliation.
“Judge Graffeo deserved reappointment, but the ‘R’ alone was the disqualification,’’ Hutter, who taught Cuomo “Unfair Trade Practices’’ in the early 1980s, told The Post.
“The [Court of Appeals] through the years has never been perceived as rendering decisions based on its political composition. But the governor appears to be on the road to seek that result.’’
Hutter accused Cuomo of delaying his judicial selection for two weeks beyond the legal deadline in order to stir up liberal opposition to Graffeo — especially from gay-rights activists angry that Graffeo once held that same-sex marriages could be legalized only by the Legislature and not the courts.