New York Governor Andrew Cuomo came out with a book on the COVID-19 pandemic when the nation was barely halfway through it, and the book sold incredibly well. It sold so well, in fact, that Cuomo stands to net $5.12 million from book sales.
Cuomo is now facing a new investigation from the New York State Attorney General's office to find out if he used gubernatorial staff resources to aid in the creation of the book. Cuomo has denied it.
Tax documents released from Cuomo's office on Monday showed that Cuomo will earn $2 million from American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Cuomo's office reported that $500,000 was given in donation to the United Way, and that he set aside $1 million in a trust for his daughters.
The investigation into the whether Cuomo used state resources to write the book was requested by New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli in a letter to the AG's office in April.
Senior Cuomo advisor Rich Azzopardi said the letter from DiNapoli was politically motivated.
"We have officially jumped the shark, Azzopardi said, "the idea there was criminality involved here is patently absurd on its face and is just the furthering of a political pile-on. Any state official who volunteered to assist on this project did so on his or her own time and without the use of state resources. To the extent a document was printed, it was incidental. This is Albany politics at its worst— both the Comptroller and the Attorney General have spoken to people about running for Governor and it is unethical to wield criminal referral authority to further political self-interest?."
After the book was released, it was revealed that Cuomo's office was responsible for a nursing home COVID policy that resulted in about 15,000 excess deaths among the elderly. The policy stated that those who had been hospitalized for COVID and were recovering should be sent back to their nursing homes. This generated increased contagion at those public facilities.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James undertook the investigation. She also took up an investigation into sexual assault and harassment allegations against the governor.
New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim, who alleged early in the pandemic that Cuomo's nursing home policies had proved deadly for the elderly, including for his own father, issued a statement.
Kim, who represents the heavily Asian-American Flushing neighborhood in Queens, said that "Today's news is further confirmation of the insidious and ugly truth that Andrew Cuomo took millions of dollars from Crown Publishing to write a book in the middle of the pandemic, while families buried their loved ones.
"He pulled staffers from the pandemic response so their time could be freed up to lie about their morally bankrupt governor. Every member of of this administration who contributed to falsifying life and death data should be held criminally responsible for defrauding the public. Their actions have contaminated and poisoned the public trust, and we must hold all of them accountable."
Cuomo was lauded early on as a governor who knew what he was doing with the pandemic, and really had everything together. He won an International Emmy Award for his press conference performances, where he would pontificate and philosophize about his own pandemic management.
While he was praised and celebrated, the city and state of New York fell into ruin. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo were constantly at each other's throats. Neither wanted to take responsibility for their failures, but it was also true that neither of them could leverage much success, outside of Cuomo's book deal, of course.