Andrew Cuomo book promotion halted amid scandals over nursing home deaths and harassment claims

New York governor accused of manipulating mortality figures

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 09 March 2021 16:13

Related video: Governor Cuomo Says There’s ‘No Way’ He Will Resign Over Harassment Allegations

The publisher of Governor Andrew Cuomo's book American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic has said that it will stop promoting it because of the investigation into nursing home scandal stalking the New York governor.

Sales had already been dampened by twin scandals as Mr Cuomo is being investigated for hiding the full extent of the toll the pandemic has taken on nursing homes in his state followed by several women accusing him of sexual harassment.

Crown Publishing Group's Gillian Blake told The New York Times that there were "no plans" to reprint the book or to issue it in a paperback format because of “the ongoing investigation into N.Y.S. reporting of Covid-related fatalities in nursing homes".

Crown, a part of Penguin Random House, hastened to get the book printed last year, describing how Mr Cuomo would take the reader into “the decision-making that shaped his political policy" by writing about the process “in his own voice".

Mr Cuomo and his administration hid the real number of Covid-related deaths in nursing homes, leaving those who died in hospitals out of New York state's official count for all of last year, The New York Times reported.

Mr Cuomo started working on the book early last summer after being praised for his leadership and daily press conferences during the spring.

Read more: Top New York lawmaker calls for Gov. Cuomo’s resignation

Back in October as the book was being published, the decision to write it was being questioned by some.

Journalist Willie Geist asked Mr Cuomo on the Today Show on 12 October: "Can you see why a lot of people think ... that writing a book ... sort of celebrating the things you did right feels off?"

"No, it's not a celebration at all. It is halftime," Mr Cuomo responded.

The Cuomo administration released the data after New York attorney general Letitia James released a report saying that the administration likely undercounted the number of deaths by as much as 50 per cent.

Arguing that the book was not jumping the gun, Mr Cuomo said that it proposed a “blueprint for going forward".

Vanity Fair reported that Mr Cuomo was paid "low to mid-seven figures" for the book, a huge number in that industry.

By June 2019 Cuomo aides were fighting with the state’s Health Department over what data to share in a report on nursing home deaths. At that time, they were reporting that 6,500 nursing home residents had died, leaving out those who were transported to hospitals before passing away.

The real number was over 9,000. When aides learned the New York Health Department was going to include the higher number, they rewrote the report to exclude it.

Mr Cuomo shared that he was thinking of writing a book four days after the publication of that report. When he shared his intention in a radio interview on 10 July he had already started to seek permission to earn outside income from book sales from the state’s oversight agency. The book was announced in August, published in October and became a best seller. But in recent months, sales have started to slow.

“Pending the ongoing investigation, we have paused active support of American Crisis and have no plans to reprint or reissue in paperback," Ms Blake told The New York Times.

The Independent has reached out to the Governor's office for comment.

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