NEW YORK, NY. (THECOUNT) — An investigation into a variety of allegations against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, has found “overwhelming evidence” that Cuomo’s staff devoted state resources to the production of his 2020 memoir and “substantially revised” state COVID-19 reports “to combat criticisms” of Cuomo’s handling of nursing homes battling the pandemic.
COVID-19 nursing home deaths:
The report concludes that while state reports on nursing home deaths at the height of the pandemic were released “under the auspices of” the state’s Department of Health, “it was substantially revised by the Executive Chamber and largely intended to combat criticisms regarding former Governor Cuomo’s directive that nursing homes should readmit residents that had been diagnosed with COVID-19,” reports CBSNews.
They wrote that the Cuomo administration chose to report only deaths that occurred inside nursing facilities, withholding those that occurred outside the homes — for instance, people who were transferred to hospitals before their deaths. That decision ultimately minimized the extent to which COVID was ravaging New York nursing homes in 2020, the investigation concluded.
Even as COVID was killing thousands in New York, Cuomo began negotiating a deal worth millions to publish a book about his leadership during the pandemic. Cuomo has long said any staff who worked on the book were “volunteers.” The investigators concluded that state resources and paid staff hours were devoted to the book.
“Certain senior state officials worked extensively on the book,” investigators wrote, “including attending meetings with agents and publishers, transcribing and drafting portions of the book, coordinating the production and promotion of the book, and participating in working sessions to review and finalize the book.”
They cite a “senior state official” who said “book-related assignments were given by superiors and expected to be completed, and the work was not voluntary.”
Investigators noted that Cuomo’s book contract guaranteed him $5.2 million in royalty advances, plus additional payments if the book sold well.
On November 16, a New York State ethics panel voted Tuesday to rescind its 2020 approval of the book, potentially setting up a legal showdown over millions of dollars in proceeds.