New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has slammed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's $5.1 million book deal on his pandemic leadership, confirming that the state's attorney general will look into the role that some of the governor's aides played in "drafting, editing, sale and promotion" of the book, Newsweek reported on Tuesday.
"I can tell you what I think it was," De Blasio said, according to Newsweek, which quoted an interview the mayor gave with NY1. "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."
DeBlasio made the comments after The New York Times reported on Monday that the governor's deal for his "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Pandemic," a book he wrote during the coronavirus crisis and which was published last October, was approximately $5.1 million.
According to the report, Cuomo received $3.12 million in earnings from the book last year, with $2 million more to be paid to him over the next two years.
After the book's publication, the coronavirus cases worsened considerably in New York, with fatalities from the pandemic in the state now at more than 52,000.
Although Cuomo has not denied that staff members helped him with the book, which was written and published in just a few months, the governor's spokesperson Richard Azzopardi said that they worked on the book in their own time in a "volunteer" capacity.
De Blasio scoffed at that explanation, saying that "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," according to Newsweek.
New York Assembly member Ron Kim added on Twitter in a scathing criticism of Cuomo, tweeting "He pulled staffers from the pandemic response so their time could be freed up to lie about their morally bankrupt governor.
He added that "Every member of this administration who contributed to falsifying life and death data should be held criminally responsible for defrauding the public."
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