Cuomo book deal draws scrutiny | WNYT.com

Cuomo book deal draws scrutiny

Dan Levy
Updated: May 18, 2021 12:09 PM
Created: May 18, 2021 12:00 AM

ALBANY - Gov. Cuomo will receive $5.1 million for the book he wrote about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic -- something that drew instant scrutiny from a local state senator.

Cuomo says the intent of his book, "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," was to provide "factual, unbiased evidence to explain the virus," theorizing that "matters of life or death tend to get people's attention."

"The main challenge for me was to communicate this data to the public in a way that would establish my credibility for providing timely information with transparency while also instilling confidence," the governor said in an audio message on the publisher's website promoting the book.

Of the $5.1 million the governor is expected to make off the book, $500,000 has been donated to the United Way of New York State, in appreciation of its statewide COVID-19 relief and vaccination efforts, according to a Cuomo spokesman.

The remainder of the money will be placed in a trust for the governor's three daughters.

"This was not an autobiography about the leadership of a governor," asserted Sen. Jim Tedisco (R - Glenville). "This was a piece of fiction, and it was about lies and about distortions."

Tedisco says the governor "should be ashamed of himself" for making money on the decisions he believes needlessly caused the deaths of thousands of nursing home residents.

"This governor shouldn't be getting any money, especially $5.1 million for his loved ones or to his daughters for a trust fund," Tedisco, a long time critic of the governor, espoused. "He should be giving $5.1 million to the families who lost loved ones because of the decisions he made."

Tedisco is also questioning the timing of Cuomo's announcement made earlier on Monday, lifting the statewide mask mandate.

"Coming out today with the good news about the masks, when this $5.1 million and the trust fund he's going to build for his family is coming out is classic Cuomo," Tedisco stated. "Send some good news out to the public that you delayed, and then the bad news is going to come from the real media."

Governor Cuomo's Communication Director Richard Azzopardi responded to Tedisco's comments on Monday night, issuing a statement that read, "This governor has worked day and night to save lives and get New Yorkers out of this pandemic. What did this miscast used car salesman do exactly?"

A hardcover edition of the governor's book sells for $30. The publisher canceled plans to promote a paperback version in March after the New York Times reported some of the governor's senior aides re-wrote a state Department of Health report on nursing home fatalities to conceal the actual number of deaths. 

Information in that report is currently under investigation. 

The governor was given permission to write the book by the Joint Commission on Ethics on the condition state resources weren't used -- something that is currently under investigation. The governor denies wrongdoing.


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