Cuomo set to earn $5M from book on COVID-19 crisis

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This cover image released by Crown shows "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic" by Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo disclosed Monday 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. (Crown via AP)

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo disclosed Monday 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.

That total windfall of more than $5.1 million further inflamed critics who have said it was inappropriate for Cuomo to personally enrich himself with a self-congratulatory book, published just as the state was seeing a deadly resurgence in infections last October.

At least 52,987 people have died of COVID-19 in New York, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

Cuomo, a Democrat, had for months declined to say how much money he made from writing “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic," published by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. The book largely recounts the governor's once-daily press conferences on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disclosure of the big payday was made on the day Cuomo's mandatory financial disclosures were due to a state ethics agency. Cuomo also let reporters view a copy of his tax returns, which were also due Monday.

Cuomo spokesperson Richard Azzopardi said Monday that after taxes and expenses, Cuomo had netted $1.5 million on the book last year. He said Cuomo donated $500,000 of his profits from the book to the United Way of New York State and is putting the rest into a trust for his three daughters. Azzopardi didn't immediately provide a response Monday to a question about what the governor plans to do with the future $2 million in book payments.

From the moment Cuomo's book came out he was criticized for penning a book touting his performance while the crisis was ongoing. Since then he's come under more criticism over the involvement of some of his staff in preparing the book for publication.

In April, the state's comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, authorized New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the role some of Cuomo's aides played in “drafting, editing, sale and promotion” of the book.