The New York governor reported earning $3.1 million last year from his leadership memoir, with additional payments coming in the next two years.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported earning $3.12 million last year from his memoir about leading New York during the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures obtained by The New York Times and set to be released publicly on Monday. State officials said his contract for the book also included another $2 million to be paid over the next two years.
The windfall payment, which dwarfed the governor’s salary of $225,000 last year, followed Mr. Cuomo’s rise to national prominence for televised news briefings during the pandemic’s uncertain early phase last spring, when New York was the nation’s epicenter.
But its disclosure arrived as Mr. Cuomo and his administration found themselves in a very different place: mired in multiple overlapping investigations into accusations of sexual harassment by the governor, his handling of nursing home death data and his use of government resources to help write and promote the book.
Richard Azzopardi, a spokesman for the governor, said Monday that Mr. Cuomo had netted $1,537,508 from the book last year, after expenses and taxes.
“From that net income, the governor donated a third to the United Way of New York State for statewide Covid relief and vaccination effort, and is giving the remainder in a trust for his three daughters equally,” Mr. Azzopardi said in a statement.
Since its publication in October, the book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the Covid-19 Pandemic,” has become a minefield for the governor and his publisher, Crown.
The publisher canceled promotion and any plans for a paperback version in March, after The Times reported that Mr. Cuomo’s most senior aides had rewritten a state Health Department report on nursing home fatalities to hide the number of actual deaths, just as Mr. Cuomo was starting to write his book. The handling of that data is currently the subject of a federal investigation.
After The Times reported that aides to the governor had assisted in the writing and promotion of the book, the state attorney general, Letitia James, opened an investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s use of state resources on the project.
Crown’s announcement that it would not release the paperback edition raised the question of whether the publisher, a division of Penguin Random House, will pay out the governor’s full advance.
That question could not be answered on Monday by the release of the tax returns, which included only payments received by Mr. Cuomo during 2020. Because book advances are typically paid out in multiple installments, the amount reported by Mr. Cuomo likely reflects just a portion of his payment.
Mr. Cuomo’s editor at Crown did not respond to a request for comment on whether the company planned to pay Mr. Cuomo the remainder of his advance.
The governor received permission to work on his book from the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics, which is tasked with enforcing New York’s public officers law. The commission required that Mr. Cuomo not use state resources, such as staff time, to work on the book project.
The governor has denied any wrongdoing and said that those who worked on the book did so voluntarily.
Even before Mr. Cuomo became enmeshed in multiple scandals, his book was a commercial disappointment, particularly for a title that had garnered an astronomical advance. Publishers competed for the book in an auction, according to publishing industry executives who spoke under the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private negotiations.
Sales for “American Crisis” have been anemic, with just around 50,000 hardcover copies sold, according to NPD BookScan — not nearly enough for Crown to recover its investment. Mr. Cuomo’s office reported Monday that he made a $500,000 contribution from the book’s proceeds to the United Way for efforts related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beyond the financial losses for Crown, the book has turned into another political and legal headache for the governor.
Mr. Cuomo’s work pitching and then writing his pandemic book coincided with a period last spring and summer in which his most senior aides withheld data on the total number of nursing home residents who had died in the pandemic, despite efforts by the Health Department to release the figures.
Some of those same aides helped Mr. Cuomo on his book. Melissa DeRosa, the governor’s top adviser, sat in on video meetings with publishers and helped the governor with early drafts last June. During the same period, she and other aides intervened to remove the pandemic’s death toll from a report on nursing homes.
Other staffers also worked on the book, both in fact-checking its contents and in performing mundane tasks such as taking dictation or making copies.
Last summer, top aides to Mr. Cuomo gathered at the governor’s mansion with the editors to read from the manuscript, a memoir of the pandemic’s first months.
The aides, who had been directly involved in the pandemic response, took turns reading passages and commenting on facts in the work, according to two people with knowledge of the gathering, which began on a Friday and stretched into the weekend. The governor also read aloud from the work.