How Cuomo’s Book Became a Cautionary Tale
In the months following its October release, Mr. Cuomo’s book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic,” became a source of financial and ethical headaches for Crown. Sales were surprisingly low for a title in which Crown had invested heavily, with less than 50,000 hardcover copies sold, according to NPD BookScan. Promoting the book became a challenge as Mr. Cuomo was mired in investigations that tarnished his public image, including allegations of sexual harassment by several women. In March, Crown tried to distance himself from the governor, saying he had canceled plans for a paperback version and would no longer promote the book.
Following the announcement of Mr. Cuomo’s resignation on Tuesday, questions remained as to whether Crown would pay the remainder of his advance. The governor’s tax records and other financial information, which were released in May, showed he had received the bulk of his advance, $ 3.12 million, in 2020, and expected to receive the remaining $ 2 million in installments over the next two years. A spokesperson for Mr Cuomo said at the time that the governor raised about $ 1.5 million for the book after taxes and expenses, and that he donated $ 500,000 to United Way of New York State for its Covid relief program.
Crown chairman David Drake declined to comment, saying “we never comment on contractual matters or financial arrangements with any of our authors.” Robert Barnett, the lawyer who represented Mr Cuomo in his book deal, declined to comment.
The New York Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee investigated whether ethics rules were violated when government employees worked on Mr. Cuomo. Staff members helped with tasks such as entering notes or printing and delivering drafts to the Executive Mansion, where Mr. Cuomo lives. His main collaborator, Melissa DeRosa, who announced her resignation on Sunday, participated in video meetings with editors and helped Mr. Cuomo edit drafts of the book.
The governor obtained permission to write the book from the State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The commission banned Mr. Cuomo from using state resources, including help from government employees, to work there. The Assembly’s inquiry is part of its larger impeachment inquiry, the fate of which remains uncertain now that Mr. Cuomo has resigned.