New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday when asked about reports the Democrat received a staggering $5.1 million for his book deal about his leadership during the pandemic.
Details about how much Cuomo earned from the book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic," come amid various investigations, including one looking into whether he used state resources to write and promote the title.
After The Times reported that aides to the governor had assisted in the writing and promotion of the book, the state attorney general, Letitia James, opened an investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s use of state resources on the project. The Times reported at the time that the deal had been worth at least $4 million.
The governor received permission to work on his book from the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which is tasked with enforcing New York’s public officers law. The commission required that Mr. Cuomo not use state resources, such as staff time, to work on the book project. The governor has denied any wrongdoing and has said that any staff members who worked on the book did so voluntarily. (NYT)
“Was it improper, in your opinion,” one reporter asked de Blasio, referring to the governor's earnings as well as the investigation.
“I think it was state-sponsored literature,” the mayor responded, according to Mediaite. “This guy clearly depended upon public employees to do a lot of the work, and that’s not acceptable.”
“You don’t need a lot of ethics training to figure out that’s not acceptable,” de Blasio added.
Cuomo is also facing other investigations into his nursing home directive, which put COVID-19-positive patients back into long-term care facilities, killing nearly 13,000 New Yorkers, and sexual harassment allegations.
In March, Crown Publishing Group announced it had "no plans" to reprint or reissue Cuomo's book, citing "the ongoing investigation into N.Y.S. reporting of Covid-related fatalities in nursing homes."