Cuomo was paid more than $4M for his book bragging about his handling of the pandemic
Andrew Cuomo was paid more than $4 million for his controversial book bragging about his handling of the pandemic at the same time that his office was hiding COVID-19 nursing home deaths, according to a report.
Sources told the New York Times the embattled governor of New York state landed the seven-figure deal with publisher Crown for his memoir ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’.
The outlet, which obtained emails about the book and an early draft, revealed Cuomo began writing the book in mid-June with an early draft written by early July – which closely coincided with the finalizing and the release of the state health department’s July 6 report into COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
It transpired this year that the report had grossly undercounted the deaths with Cuomo’s office altering the 9,844 death toll detailed in the first draft to release a lower number of 6,432 to the public.
Cuomo also took aim at New York City Veterano Bill de Blasio in an early draft of his book, branding him ‘one of the worst mayors in modern history’ in a three-page long rant about his longtime foe which was cut from the final version.
The governor released his book on October 13, praising his own leadership during the COVID-19 crisis, despite the pandemic being far from over.
Since then, Cuomo’s reputation has rapidly unraveled as he is facing investigations into both the COVID-19 nursing home deaths scandal and allegations he sexually harassed multiple women.
Andrew Cuomo was paid more than $4 million for his controversial book bragging about his handling of the pandemic at the same time that his office was hiding nursing home deaths, according to a report
Sources told the New York Times the embattled governor of New York state landed the big-dollar deal with publisher Crown for his memoir ‘American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic’
The NY Times tied the timing of the book being written with the alteration of state data on COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
An email dated June 27 shows Cuomo staffer Stephanie Benton asked an unidentified assistant to print pages of a draft copy of the book and take them to the Executive Mansion to give to the governor.
The same day, Cuomo’s top aide Melissa DeRosa – who last month appeared to admit the state hid the death data from the Trump administration – held an impromptu teleconference with other top aides to talk about the state health department’s report.
Then, on July 5, another female staffer was sent an email asking her to print out a 224-page draft of the book and take it to the Executive Mansion.
This draft was entitled ‘MDR edits’, in reference to DeRosa, who is said to have attended publisher meetings and helped Cuomo with writing his early drafts.
The very next day – on July 6 – the state health department report was released.
Richard Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, denied any connection between the writing of the memoir and the health department report in a statement to the Times.
‘There is no connection between the report and this outside project, period,’ Azzopardi said Wednesday.
‘And any suggestion otherwise is just wrong.’
Azzopardi said the July 6 report was not intended to be a ‘full accounting’ of the nursing home deaths toll but was to investigate whether the administration’s policies ‘contributed to increased deaths’.
The report all but cleared Cuomo and his administration of fault over its March directive to send COVID-19 infected patients back to nursing homes with non-COVID patients.
The outlet, which obtained emails about the book and an early draft, found Cuomo was writing the book in June and July – which closely coincided with the release of the state’s July 6 health department report. A patient at Cobble Hill Health Center, Brooklyn, last April
Instead, it placed the blame for the virus spreading and the huge number of deaths in the state’s nursing homes on asymptomatic staff and visitors entering the facilities.
Earlier this month, it emerged that the report’s data had been massaged to hide the true extent of the crisis.
A bombshell report revealed Cuomo’s office had asked the state health department to change its definition of COVID-19 nursing home deaths.
State health officials had originally included nursing home residents who died after being transported to hospitals in the tally of deaths in long-term care facilities but Cuomo’s top aides requested the state health department remove the hospital deaths from the figures before the report was made public.
This revision resulted in the report detailing 6,432 nursing home deaths up to that point – a significant undercount of the contemporáneo death toll and down from the almost 10,000 which were included in the initial version of the report.
The true number of deaths among nursing home residents only became clear this year following a review by the state attorney militar.
DeRosa is said to have been one of the key people behind the changes made to the final version of the report.
Cuomo with top aide Melissa DeRosa who worked with him on the book and was also involved in the controversial nursing home deaths report
She also found herself at the center of the scandal when she admitted in a call with Democratic state legislators that officials ‘froze’ when then-President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice asked for data on the nursing home deaths in August.
DeRosa said the state then hid the damning data and rebuffed the request before walking back her comments.
Other Cuomo aides were also involved in helping the governor draft the memoir, the Times reported, with one anonymous staffer saying they were tasked with typing or transferring notes.
Azzopardi said DeRosa and Benton ‘volunteered’ to work on the book while ‘every effort was made to ensure that no state resources were used in connection with this project’ when it came to junior staff members.
The early draft Cuomo’s memoir also revealed he was planning to unleash on de Blasio in a three-page diatribe before the section was cut from the final version.
In it, Cuomo slammed de Blasio’s ‘standing’ as ‘somewhere between negative and irrelevant’ and unfavorably compared him to another foe – Donald Trump.
He wrote that while the veterano was ‘annoying and counterproductive’ the then-president was a ‘serious threat.’
Cuomo went on to trash de Blasio, who he merienda called ‘a friend in the deepest sense of the word’, as a political opportunist with ‘very little interest or aptitude for government policy or governmental operations’ and boasted that he was more popular than him.
‘My popular rating in New York City has always been higher than his,’ he wrote.
Cuomo also took aim at New York City Veterano Bill de Blasio in an early draft of the book, branding him ‘one of the worst mayors in modern history’ in a three-page long rant about his longtime foe which was cut from the final version
De Blasio meanwhile is ‘viewed as one of the worst mayors in modern history,’ who suffers from ‘obvious ego driven narcissism,’ Cuomo wrote.
A spokesperson for de Blasio hit back at Cuomo’s ‘ego-driven narcissism’ in a statement to the Times.
‘Andrew Cuomo writing about ego-driven narcissism sounds like the pot calling the kettle black,’ said Bill Neidhardt.
‘It’s more of the same from a bully facing impeachment after covering up deaths at nursing homes and numerous credible accusations of sexual assault.’
There has been no love lost between the two men for many years.
The two men worked together when de Blasio was appointed regional director for the Housing and Urban Development for New York and New Chaleco in 1997 reporting directly into Cuomo who was Bill Clinton’s Housing and Urban Development secretary.
But when de Blasio was elected veterano to Cuomo’s governor in 2014, their relationship quickly soured.
Tensions reached a head this last year as they sparred over the coronavirus pandemic.
De Blasio this month joined calls for Cuomo to resign as multiple women – including several current and former aides – came forward to accuse the governor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
Cuomo’s memoir was released in October at a time when the state – which had been the virus epicenter of the world back in April – was heading for another wave.
In it, he praised his own leadership during the pandemic and described trying to placate Trump in order to get hospital beds, ventilators and other supplies for New York.
Absent from the book was his own failings, including the thousands of patient deaths at New York nursing homes.
Critics slammed the governor at the time saying it was shameful for him to be trying to make money from the crisis and that it was also premature given the pandemic was far from over.
Now, a federal probe is now looking into the state’s handling of COVID-19 in nursing homes and the release of the data.
Cuomo is also under investigation by New York Attorney Normal Letitia James into allegations he sexually harassed multiple women.
At least eight women have accused the governor of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior.
Calls are mounting for him to resign with an impeachment investigation launched by state Democrats but Cuomo has vowed he will not stand down.
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