New York Mayor Andrew Cuomo (D) will receive $5.1 million for his memoir detailing his ‘leadership’ during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the New York Times.
In addition to earning $3.12 million last year, state officials announced on Monday that his contract for the book also included another $2 million to be paid over the next two years – dwarfing his governor’s salary of $225,000.
The disclosure is a slap in the face for New York families who lost loved ones due to Cuomo’s nursing home debacle.
What’s more, the NY Gov. was negotiating his fat book deal while several of his aides were feeding deliberately false data to the DoJ and suppressing a Health Department report that threatened to disclose a far higher number of nursing home deaths, according to the Times in an earlier report.
Cuomo’s mishandling of the crisis has sparked investigations by the FBI and the Eastern District of New York US Attorney’s office, according to the NY Post. Meanwhile, the state attorney general’s office has launched a probe into Cuomo’s alleged use of government staff to help produce the book.
This year, however, questions grew about the Cuomo administration’s suppression of potentially damaging nursing home death data, followed by a spate of sexual harassment allegations and other inquiries into Cuomo or his office. In March 2021, Crown New York ceased promoting the book because of the federal investigation into the state’s handling of nursing home data.
On April 13, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli invoked state Executive Law to issue a formal referral letter requesting a criminal investigation by state Attorney General Letitia James. DiNapoli requested an investigation “related to the use of property, services, or resources of the state for personal purposes” including for “the drafting, editing, sale and promoting of the governor’s book and any related financial or business transactions.” –Times Union
At the urging of Cuomo advisers, a public report excluded nursing home residents who later died in hospitals after becoming sick in long-term facilities, resulting in a “significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The Health Department resisted calls by state and federal lawmakers, media outlets and others to release the [full] data for another eight months,” according to the Journal.
State officials now say more than 15,000 residents of nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities were confirmed or presumed to have died from Covid-19 since March of last year—counting both those who died in long-term-care facilities and those who died later in hospitals. That figure is about 50% higher than earlier official death tolls. -WSJ
The published version of the data said just 6,432 nursing home residents had died, when in fact over 15,000 residents of nursing homes were either confirmed or presumed to have died of COVID-19 since last March. Notably, Cuomo’s administration issued a March 25 directive that no nursing home could refuse to readmit residents or admit new residents who had COVID-19.
Cuomo’s top aide, Melissa DeRosa, infuriated state lawmakers during a Feb. 10 virtual meeting, when she admitted to sidelining a legislative request for the data due to fears that the Trump DOJ would use it to investigate. Of note, the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division began requesting data on nursing home deaths from New York and other Democratic-leaning states in August.
According to a July report, nursing homes were already full of COVID patients when the March 25 policy was enacted, and was attributed to staff who brought it with them to work.
Cuomo’s office claims that the Governor donated a third of his net book profit of $1.54 million to the United Way of New York State for COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts, and that the remainder would be kept in equal amounts in a trust for his three daughters.
His 2020 total adjusted gross income was $3.59 million.