Cuomo’s Surprise Resignation Shocks PredictIt, NY Gov. May Still Face Impeachment

Posted on: August 10, 2021, 08:07h. 

Last updated on: August 11, 2021, 08:36h.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shocked the nation Tuesday when he announced he would resign from office. He indicated he would rather resign than continue a fight against sexual harassment allegations he considered politically motivated. For some in the political trading world, it might have brought on a case of déjà vu.

Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo acknowledges people as he goes to an Albany Public Library branch to vote in the Democratic primary on June 22. On Tuesday, the governor announced he would resign from office in two weeks after facing numerous allegations of sexual harassment. (Image: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M.

The three-term Democrat had faced a slew of allegations over the past year. That led to a myriad of investigations at the state and federal level. Ultimately, it was an independent investigation overseen by Attorney General Letitia James that led to Cuomo’s downfall.

A 165-page report was released a week ago after that five-month inquiry led by lawyers from outside state government.  Investigators determined that 11 women who accused Cuomo had credible claims. The report led to renewed calls for his resignation from as high-up as President Biden. But Cuomo, who refuted similar calls months ago when the harassment claims surfaced, continued to ignore them for the past week.

Cuomo’s lawyer, Rita Galvin, ripped the report as one-sided in statements on Friday and Tuesday, and even the governor himself on Tuesday criticized the investigation as politically motivated. But then the tone in his voice changed as he started talking about the potential of being impeached, which he said would tie up state government for months at a time when it needed to focus on COVID-19 and other matters.

Wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing, and I cannot be the cause of that,” he said.

Less than a minute later, Cuomo made his resignation official, with it taking effect in 14 days.

His resignation came less than 24 hours after the state deadline passed to submit applications for mobile sports betting licenses, which uses a format that could see sportsbooks taxed at 50 percent or more of their revenue.

PredictIt Market React Sharply Again

Last week, in the hours before James announced the findings, the Cuomo-related markets on PredictIt, a legal online US political futures market, were fairly stable. That was with the thought that neither his resignation nor impeachment were likely. That all changed, PredictIt Public Relations Director Lindsey Singer said, as soon as James began announcing the results.

Within moments, shares on Cuomo staying in office through the end of the year dropped from 88 cents to 51 cents. Shares that Cuomo would resign before the end of August were at 2 cents before jumping up to 38 cents. Shares on his impeachment chances by Sept. 1 rose, but not as sharply.

Trading over the past week on the Cuomo markets fluctuated some. But in the hours after lawmakers discussed a possible impeachment time line on Monday, they had started to settle again.

Most traders were convinced Cuomo was in for a long fight, but one where the odds were against him. Shares of him being governor at the year’s end were hovering at around a quarter until midday Tuesday. Similarly, so were shares that he’d resign before Sept. 1.

Just like last week, there was not a pre-event spike or sell-off. If anything, Singer said, there was a slight uptick in the governor’s favor when the press conference was announced.

Then, the floor went out. In minutes, the markets had nearly settled. Shares that he’d resign before Sept. 1 rose 75 cents to 98 cents. Conversely, Cuomo sticking around until the end of the year dropped 22 cents to 2 cents.

“We were all surprised that the news broke today, but I’ve been comparing it to the classic, ‘You can’t fire me, I quit!’ maneuver,” Singer told on Tuesday.

Cuomo Impeachment Still in Play?

So, with Cuomo now officially leaving office on Aug. 24, that essentially settles his PredictIt markets, right?

Maybe not.

One market to keep an eye on is the impeachment market. Shares on his impeachment by Sept. 1 fell from 13 cents to 3 cents in the aftermath of his announcement early Tuesday afternoon. Then, they started slowly trending up. At 9:30 pm ET, they were trading at 8 cents.

That share price is the equivalent of betting on an outcome with +1150 odds. It’s a longshot, but it’s still a possibility. After all, Congress impeached President Trump as he was on his way out.

At least one state lawmaker wants to pursue that against Cuomo.

Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou (D-Manhattan) said in a statement after Cuomo’s resignation that his wrongdoings went beyond the harassment claims. They included trying to cover up the extent his administration’s nursing home policies during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the state’s death toll. They also targeted the $5 million he made on a book deal last year about managing the crisis.

This is a pattern of his abuse of power, and impeachment is an appropriate and necessary step in our state’s long and difficult healing process,” Niou said. “Impeachment means New York will not be paying Andrew Cuomo’s pension for the rest of his life after his disgusting abuses of power.”

Assemblymember Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), who chairs the Judiciary Committee looking into impeachment charges against Cuomo, noted the possibility of a post-resignation impeachment “as an interesting question” during a press conference Monday.

While not discounting it outright, Lavine added that holding a trial after the 63-year-old left office would be a “moot” process.

“It’s not going to be meaningful, but there would be the opportunity in the court of impeachment to prohibit him from ever again occupying statewide office,” he said.