New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is expected to earn more than $5 million for his beleaguered book about his efforts to lead New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to tax filings he released Monday.
The tax returns, details of which were obtained by local media outlets, show Cuomo was paid $3.12 million in 2020 by Crown Publishing as part of his contract for the book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic,” which was published in October. He netted about $1.5 million after taxes and expenses from that sum and donated a third, or $500,000, to the United Way of New York State for coronavirus pandemic “recovery and vaccination efforts.” The remaining $1 million was placed in a trust for his daughters, his office told reporters.
The governor is also expected to be paid $2 million more in installments over the next two years as part of his contract, according to media reports.
His annual salary as governor is $217,736.
The mammoth figure for the book deal is striking as Cuomo — who drew national attention when the early phase of the coronavirus pandemic was centered on New York — remains under fire amid a barrage of scandals. He is under investigation to determine if he used state resources to write and promote the memoir following reports by The New York Times that a cadre of aides assisted him. (The publication added that Cuomo received permission from the state’s ethics committee to write the book but was required not to use state resources. He has denied any wrongdoing.)
The governor is also facing an investigation into his handling of the state’s nursing home data during the COVID-19 crisis while separate reports claim that his aides wrote a health department report to obfuscate the true pandemic death toll. Cuomo has also recently faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
The governor has denied altering the nursing home data. He has also apologized for his behavior toward the women.
His book has sold about 50,000 copies, according to Politico, although the publisher stopped promoting it last year as the controversies emerged. Crown decided not to publish it in paperback, and it’s unclear if that decision would affect the final $2 million in payments.
Cuomo has traditionally released his tax returns each year to members of the press, although the book fee drew some criticism for its size. An aide to the governor dismissed those concerns, however.
“This governor worked night and day to save lives and get this state out of this pandemic,” Rich Azzopardi, a senior adviser to the governor, told Gothamist.