Cuomo faces backlash over $5 million COVID-19 response book deal

Tax filings showed that Gov. Cuomo struck a $5 million deal for his book "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic."

News 12 Staff

May 18, 2021, 9:40 PM

Updated 1,067 days ago

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing some backlash Tuesday just one day after disclosing that he was paid a $3.1 million advance to write his COVID-19 leadership book last year and under his publishing contract will make another $2 million on the memoir over the next two years.
Vivian Zayas, co-founder of the group Voices for Seniors, lost her mother to COVID-19 while she was in a nursing and rehabilitation home. She is angry and upset after learning of the governor's profits from the COVID-19 book.
"He continues to profit over a pandemic where we families are still grieving," says Zayas.
Tax filings showed that Cuomo struck a $5 million deal for his book "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic." Cuomo received permission to work on the book from the state's Joint Commission on Public Ethics. Cuomo says staffers who helped with the book did so voluntarily and not on taxpayer time, but the Attorney General's Office is looking into it.
"So while our governor who is supposed to stand up for New Yorkers to protect New Yorkers, he's benefiting over the death and the rampage this pandemic has brought on our state," says Zayas.
Political strategist Mike Dawidziak says Cuomo has every right to profit from a book he writes on his personal time but did think it might not have been the best decision.
"If I were advising him as a political consultant, I might have said the optics on this really aren't very good," says Dawidziak.
Cuomo's senior adviser says about $500,000 was donated to COVID-19 relief and the vaccination effort. The rest was put into a trust for the governor's three daughters.
So far, about 50,000 hard cover copies of the book have been sold.


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