Bill de Blasio Says AG Will Be Looking at Andrew Cuomo's 'State Sponsored' $5.1M Book Deal

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has criticized Andrew Cuomo's $5.1 million deal for a book about the governor's pandemic leadership, confirming that the attorney general will look into its creation.

In October 2020, Cuomo, New York Governor, published American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Pandemic, a book he wrote during the COVID-19 crisis.

New York was badly hit with COVID-19 cases after the book's publication, with the current figure for fatalities in the state now at more than 52,000.

The New York Times reported on Monday that Cuomo's book deal was around $5.1 million in total, with the governor receiving $3.12 million in earnings from it in 2020, with an additional $2 million contracted to be paid to him over the next two years.

Following the reports of the governor's contract, Cuomo's spokesperson Richard Azzopardi confirmed on Monday that he earned $1.5 million from the book in 2020 after taxes and expenses.

During an interview with Errol Lewis of NY1 on Monday evening, de Blasio was asked by the host if Cuomo's book deal was "improper" in his opinion, as several of the governor's employees helped with the creation and promotion of it.

"Well, I can tell you what I think it was. I think it was state-sponsored literature. This guy clearly depended upon public employees to do a lot of the work, and that's not acceptable, I mean that's not even close," De Blasio said on Monday.

"You don't need a lot of ethics training to figure out that's not acceptable. So obviously, the attorney general and the legislator will now be looking at that," the mayor added.

De Blasio then went on to list the other scandals currently engulfing Cuomo, including allegations that the governor covered up nursing home deaths caused by COVID-19 and accusations of sexual harassment from multiple women.

Cuomo has repeatedly denied the claims of sexual harassment and covering up nursing home deaths, but is under investigation in relation to both.

Last month, the state's comptroller Thomas DiNapoli authorized New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the role that some of Cuomo's aides played in "drafting, editing sale and promotion" of the governor's book, which de Blasio confirmed during his interview on Monday.

Although Cuomo has not denied that staff members worked on the book, which was written and published in the space of a few months, Azzopardi has claimed that they helped on it in their own time in a "volunteer" capacity.

Despite Azzopardi's statement, New York Assemblymember Ron Kim criticized Cuomo in a statement on Twitter.

Here’s my statement on Cuomo’s $5.12 million book deal during the pandemic: pic.twitter.com/NFGM1VYdgY

— Ron T. Kim (@rontkim) May 17, 2021

"He pulled staffers from the pandemic response so their time could be freed up to lie about their morally bankrupt governor," Kim wrote on Monday.

"Every member of this administration who contributed to falsifying life and death data should be held criminally responsible for defrauding the public," he added.

In March, Crown Publishing Group, who published Cuomo's book, revealed that it had stopped promotion of American Crisis, around the time of the announcement of the investigation into New York's nursing homes.

Newsweek has contacted Cuomo's office for comment.

Bill de Blasio press conference
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media during a press conference at City Hall on January 3, 2020 in New York City. De Blasio criticised New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 18 for a $5.1 million book deal about his pandemic leadership. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images