Andrew Cuomo has labeled a question on whether he ‘profited off the backs of dead New Yorkers’ with his $5.1 million book deal as ‘stupid and offensive’.
The governor was asked about American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic during his Thursday press conference.
After a reporter asked if he had profited on the ‘backs of dead New Yorkers’, Cuomo replied: ‘That’s stupid. Next question.’ When probed further on what he meant Cuomo replied: ‘I thought your question was stupid and offensive.’
He added: ‘I wrote a book saying this is what we should learn from what has happened so far in COVID because we’re not done and it’s going to continue.
‘And if we don’t learn the lessons we are going to continue to make the same mistakes. That’s why I wrote the book. And by the way, that’s what happened.
‘This country made tremendous mistakes when it came to COVID. We politicized a public health emergency.’
Earlier this week it emerged that Cuomo was given $3.1million from Crown publishers for the book, with an agreement of an additional $2million over the next two years.
After tax, he took $1.5 million – a third of which he donated to a COVID relief fund. He left the rest for his three daughters who he said worked ‘tirelessly’ through the pandemic.
The book was released in October, just before New York’s COVID-19 numbers spiked again and Cuomo sent the state back into lockdown. At least 52,987 people have died of COVID-19 in New York, according to data.
He refused to say at the time how much of an advance he’d been given but on Monday, his office confirmed it after he filed his taxes.
Andrew Cuomo on Thursday refused to answer a question on whether he ‘profited off the backs of dead New Yorkers’ with his $5.1 million book deal
Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York’s Hart Island in April last year
Cuomo was slammed for the book which was released in the midst of the pandemic and despite him being blamed for thousands of COVID deaths in nursing homes.
His book publisher, Crown – a division of Penguin Random House – stopped promoting it after the nursing home scandal, and as a number of women publicly accused him of sexual misconduct this year.
In 2020, he was paid $3.12million for it the book.
He’ll get another $2million in the next two years. Last year, after taxes, he got a net payment of $1.5million. Cuomo gave a third of that money to charity and left two thirds for his three daughters, giving them around $300,000 each.
Cuomo’s controversial book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, was released in October
Cuomo’s three daughters are from his marriage to Kerry Kennedy, who is one of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel’s children.
Michaela is 23 and Cara and Mariah are 26-year-old twins. He says it’s because they worked for him in the pandemic, producing ‘tireless and effective work for all New Yorkers’.
Cuomo’s spokesman Rich Azzopardi said: ‘The contract calls for payment of $3,120,000 in the last taxable year and an additional $2million over the following 2 years. Net income from the $3,120,000 less expenses and taxes is $1,537,508.
‘From that net income, the Governor donated a third to the United Way of New York State for state-wide COVID-relief and vaccination effort and is giving the remainder in a trust for his three daughters equally who worked with the Governor during this pandemic and did what he calls ‘tireless and effective work for all New Yorkers’ and have him the ‘strength and love to make it through the crisis every day’.
The daughters moved in with their father at the Albany mansion last year.
Mariah and her boyfriend Tellef Lundevall also received priority COVID testing in April, just days after the governor came under fire for arranging them for his family a year earlier.
Testing on Cuomo’s family members came at the height of the pandemic when ordinary New Yorkers struggled to get access to screenings.
Cuomos’s daughters Michaela, 23, and 26-year-old twins Mariah and Cara. He gave them each more than $300,000 for their ‘tireless’ pandemic work. Michaela, left, graduated from Brown this year. Mariah (far right) is a social media strategist at Teneo and Cara, center, works at Sahar Global Summits, a ‘minority owned small business that organizes and hosts invitation only summits focused on alternative investments’
The governor was asked about American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic during his Thursday press conference. After a reporter asked if he had profited on the ‘backs of dead New Yorkers’, Cuomo replied: ‘That’s stupid. Next question.’ When asked what he meant Cuomo replied: ‘I thought your question was stupid and offensive’
Cuomo’s daughters took turns appearing at press conferences and joined him one day on the NYSE to ring the opening bell. Mariah also helped with the state’s ‘mask up’ campaign.
The book is available on Amazon for $6.82 but when dividing what he was paid by how many have actually sold, it puts the price at $100 per copy.
Cuomo is being investigated by the New York Attorney General’s office who wants to know if he used state money to put the book together.
Junior staffers reported that their tasks included editing early drafts, sitting in on pitch meetings, and even printing and delivering manuscript pages of the book to his mansion.
Cuomo told The New York Times that any staffers who worked on the book did so voluntarily and that there may have been some ‘minor’ work on it done incidentally.
But New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio slammed the book as ‘state-sponsored literature’.
‘This guy clearly depended upon public employees to do a lot of the work, and that’s not acceptable,’ he said, ‘you don’t need a lot of ethics training to figure out that’s not acceptable.’
Cuomo and his daughters at the Albany Governors’ Mansion during COVID-19. They moved in with him
His spokesman told the Times in April: ‘We have officially jumped the shark — the idea there was criminality involved here is patently absurd on its face and is just the furthering of a political pile-on.’
Cuomo’s first book was also a flop. He was paid $783,000 by Harper Collins but only 3,200 copies of it sold.
Crown released the Cuomo book but stopped promoting it when Cuomo was accused of sexual misconduct by multiple former staffers and women.
Because of the way the state health department counted numbers, it looked as though 8,700 people had died from COVID in nursing homes when in fact the true number was 15,000.
The AG is investigating that discrepancy, as well as claims by several women that Cuomo was sexually inappropriate towards them. He has denied all wrongdoing.
It happened after Cuomo signed a directive that forced nursing homes to accept COVID-19 patients back in, even if they were still testing positive, to free up hospital beds.