According to the paper, which cited "people with knowledge of the book's bidding process," Cuomo landed a deal worth more than $4 million for "American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic," which was released in October.
According to the Times, members of Cuomo's administration assisted in the drafting of his book. A top aide, Melissa DeRosa, attended video meetings with the publisher and helped edit early drafts. The paper reported that she played such a prominent role that drafts labeled "MDR edits" were exchanged between staffers.
The Times report also sought to tie Cuomo's work on the memoir to DeRosa's alleged intervention with New York's Health Department to have officials excise the true number of nursing home deaths in the early months of the pandemic from a report in the summer of 2020.
Cuomo senior adviser Richard Azzopardi denied any link between the two, telling the Times, "There is no connection between the report and this outside project, period. And any suggestion otherwise is just wrong."
Another aide, Stephanie Benton, asked assistants to print out portions of the drafted book and deliver them to the Executive Mansion.
Azzopardi insisted to the Times that DeRosa and Benton "volunteered on this project" and that their conduct was "permissible and consistent with ethical requirements" in New York.
An unpublished July draft of "American Crisis" obtained by the Times knocked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio as a "political opportunist who had 'very little interest or aptitude for government policy or governmental operations,' and boasted how Cuomo's "popular rating in New York City has always been higher" than the mayor, who he viewed as "one of the worst mayors in modern history" with "obvious ego driven narcissism."
Cuomo insisted in the draft that de Blasio's "standing" is "somewhere between negative and irrelevant" and described the mayor as "annoying and counterproductive," while then-President Donald Trump was a "serious threat."
A spokesperson for de Blasio told the Times, "Andrew Cuomo writing about ego-driven narcissism sounds like the pot calling the kettle black" before adding, "It’s more of the same from a bully facing impeachment after covering up deaths at nursing homes and numerous credible accusations of sexual assault."
Meanwhile, the governor spoke highly of himself.
"I have experience and a skill set that qualifies me as a good governor," Cuomo wrote in the draft. "I have accomplished by any objective standard more than any governor in modern history. But I am not a superhero."