Cuomo To Earn $5M From COVID-19 Pandemic Book Deal

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied sexual harassment allegations from a second woman
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has denied sexual harassment allegations from a second woman POOL / Seth Wenig

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to earn more than $5 million from a windfall book deal about his response to the coronavirus pandemic in New York, his tax returns revealed Monday. Ironically, for a governor who has blamed rising corruption in the state capital on legislators' side jobs,  the money is in "the ballpark of the total of outside income reported by all 213 state legislators combined in calendar year 2019," Politico reported.

Cuomo received the bulk of the money, $3.12 million, last year, of which he will have a net gain of $1.54 million after taxes and expenses. As stated in his contract with Penguin Random House for "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic," the Democratic governor is expected to receive $2 million in installments over the next two years, senior adviser Rich Azzopardi told CNN.

The book deal serves as the governor’s biggest payday since he was elected governor in 2011. He previously made $738,000 over four years for “All Things Possible,” a book published in 2014 but flopped. 

It’s also the largest sum of money ever earned by a governor from a “side gig,” something which Cuomo has previously said he was against, Politico reported.

“No outside income — period. Period,” he had said in 2018, suggesting that he would push for ending side gigs by legislators during his third term.  

Cuomo donated $500,000 from his book deal to the United Way of New York State for its statewide COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts. He put the remaining $1 million in a trust for his three daughters. 

The book, which was published last fall, sold over 50,000 hardcover copies before the publisher stopped promoting it. The company also canceled the printing of the paperback version after The New York Times revealed that Cuomo's senior aides rewrote a report to hide the number of nursing home deaths related to COVID-19. 

Cuomo’s most senior aides repeatedly overruled state health officials, including commissioner Howard Zucker, from releasing the correct death toll to the public for at least five months. A scientific paper that incorporated the numbers was also stopped from being published. 

The true toll and the complete data set was only released early 2021, after State Attorney General Letitia James found that New York undercounted COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes by at least 50%. 

Elkan Abramowitz, who is representing Cuomo’s office, said they were hesitant to release the number because they were unsure how reliable the data was. 

"The chamber was never satisfied that the numbers that they were getting from DOH were accurate," Abramowitz told The Times. 

The aides involved in altering the report included Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top aide; Linda Lacewell, the head of the state’s Department of Financial Services; and Jim Malatras, a former top adviser to Cuomo who was brought back during the pandemic.

Three women have accused of harassment, including two former aides

Photo: AFP / Johannes EISELE

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