Now critics are calling out his attempt to cover up the details of that deal amid a growing movement to impeach the three-term Democrat governor.
Assemblyman Ron Kim, D-Queens, and five other Democrats in the state legislature released a letter Tuesday questioning whether Cuomo’s deal would have gone through if the truth had been known.
They demanded further disclosure about the arrangements, the Buffalo News reported.
“We are calling on Andrew Cuomo and Crown Publishing to turn over the governor’s contract of his book deal to the public and media so we can determine whether he had a financial motivation to deflate nursing-home data,” Kim said.
“The timeline and Cuomo’s actions already prove a coordinated conspiracy and if there was a financial motive, we must immediately remove the Governor from office and hold him fully accountable for his criminal actions,” he added.
As New York became one of the early epicenters of the pandemic, Cuomo controversially demanded that nursing homes in the state allow infected coronavirus patients to be admitted, even if they were unprepared to separate them from the healthy population.
State Attorney General Letitia James released a report indicating the governor had under-counted nursing-home deaths by at least 7,000—an estimated 50% of the actual total.
Melissa DeRosa, a top Cuomo aide, first admitted to the cover-up last month during a call with Democrat leaders, saying the governor’s office feared an investigation by federal prosecutors during the Trump administration.
“[B]asically, we froze, because then we were in a position where we weren’t sure if what we were going to give to the Department of Justice—or what we give to you guys, what we start saying—was going to be used against us,” she said, according to the New York Post.
While apologizing to the lawmakers for the “position that you were put in” with Republicans, she asked for “a little bit of appreciation of the context.”
But several Democrats already alienated by Cuomo’s bullying tactics were having none of it.
Kim and others noted that Cuomo needed permission from the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics in order to receive outside income from the book deal, which was announced last August and published in October.
At the time—despite having knowledge of the nursing home scandal—mainstream media heralded Cuomo as a true leader for having managed to contain the virus.
Despite requests from both legislators and journalists to release the JCOPE records, Cuomo has continued to stonewall, claiming that the coronavirus had delayed a timely response under the Freedom of Information Act.
“You’ll see it on my financial disclosure,” he claimed in response to requests made immediately after he announced the book deal. That disclosure would come on May 15 at the earliest, barring any COVID-related delays.
Lifestyle magazine Vanity Fair reported that the deal was worth “at least low to mid-seven figures,” according to the Post.
In addition to the nursing-home scandal, some former Cuomo defenders have sought to throw him under the bus for an entirely different reason.
To date, at least six victims have come forward with sexual-harassment and assault complaints, including a member of the executive chamber staff at the governor’s mansion who reportedly accused Cuomo of aggressively groping her under her blouse.
In response to the scandals, Crown Publishing, the Penguin imprint that released Cuomo’s book, announced that it had no further plans to promote it and had discontinued its arrangements for a paperback edition.