New York’s Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo negotiated a $4 million contract for his book on “pandemic leadership,” which he wrote with the help of state employees, while, according to various sources, concealing the wave of nursing home deaths for which he is now under investigation.
The book, American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic, published in October, some six months after the worst of the pandemic in New York, was written with the help of the governor’s secretary and top advisor, Melissa DeRosa.
According to The New York Times, Cuomo used staff from the governor’s office to help him with the manuscript during June and July, something that could land him in trouble under state laws prohibiting the use of officials for personal gain.
The book, which gives lessons in leadership during the pandemic, became a bestseller and catapulted Cuomo’s popularity nationally as the great manager during the deepening health crisis that has cost this state nearly 50,000 deaths.
In parallel, the governor maneuvered to hide data on deaths from covid-19 in nursing homes, altering public reports to avoid showing the true extent of nursing home deaths, in part because of a policy, created in March 2020, of not accepting patients from those facilities in hospitals.
During the book’s frenzied July release, DeRosa pushed for the release of a report that month to absolve the governor of responsibility for nursing home deaths.
According to anonymous testimony cited by the newspaper, Cuomo wrote part of his book with notes he recorded on his phone and later transcribed by gubernatorial aides, although an aide to the governor claims this work was voluntary and after hours.
The governor negotiated the $4 million payment with Crown Publishing, a very high sum for an author who sold only 4,000 copies of his previous book, All Things Possible.
Cuomo has assured that he will donate part of the profits from the book, although he has not clarified how much that amount is.
The governor of New York has seen his popularity decline and risks impeachment, first because of criticism of his management of nursing homes, and later because of several accusations of sexual harassment of women, many of whom worked under him.