Cuomo’s Pandemic Book Leads to an Investigation

Gov. Cuomo is already weathering investigations into his professional conduct and personal behavior — and now his work as an author will be scrutinized as well.,


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It’s Tuesday.

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Weather: Mostly sunny today with a high in the low 70s, turning partly cloudy tonight with temperatures in the mid-50s.

Alternate-side parking: In effect until April 29 (Holy Thursday, Orthodox).

Credit…Pool photo by Shannon Stapleton

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is already weathering investigations into his professional conduct and personal behavior — and now his work as an author will be scrutinized as well.

The governor faces an investigation by the New York attorney general into whether he misused state resources to write his memoir “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic.”

The investigation follows a report by The New York Times in late March that detailed how Mr. Cuomo’s junior staff members and senior aides worked on the book, for which the governor secured at least one offer of more than $4 million, according to people with knowledge of the bidding process.

[Mr. Cuomo faces inquiry over use of state resources for pandemic book.]

Here’s what you need to know:

The Times’s report found that Mr. Cuomo relied on trusted aides and more junior personnel to help him write the manuscript.

Emails and an early draft of the book obtained by The Times showed that a cadre of government employees worked on everything from full-scale edits to minor clerical work, which could violate state laws against using public resources for personal gain.

The governor has insisted that any work done on the book by state employees was voluntary or “incidental.”

Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, confirmed on Monday that she would open an investigation into Mr. Cuomo’s use of state resources as he wrote and promoted his book.

New York’s Public Officers Law prohibits using “property, services or other resources of the state for private business or other compensated nongovernmental purposes.”

Misuse of public resources has led to the political downfall of officials like former state comptroller Alan G. Hevesi, who pleaded guilty to a felony in 2006 after he used a state driver to run errands for his wife.

Ms. James is already overseeing an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Cuomo, and federal authorities are looking into how his administration handled data about nursing home deaths earlier in the pandemic.

Most of the state’s congressional delegation, and many of his fellow Democrats in Albany, have called on Mr. Cuomo to resign. He has steadfastly resisted, and there was no indication yesterday that another investigation would change his mind.

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The Mini Crossword: Here is today’s puzzle.

Nearly 1,200 city public schools will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in new funding, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. [Gothamist]

The New York Police Department has created a citizen review panel to monitor hate crime investigations after an increase in the number of reported hate crimes against people of Asian descent. [New York Post]

The police issued a violation to a rapper known as Warchyld over the weekend for driving around Chelsea in a Hummer with a large air rifle mounted on the roof. [CBS New York]

The Times’s Melissa Guerrero writes:

All kinds of flowers decorated the East River Park Amphitheater on a cloudy afternoon on Saturday: an altar of bouquets on the stage, floral chalk drawings beneath it, flowers in the hands of those in attendance.

The event, “Protect Asian Lives,” wasn’t quite a protest, a rally or a vigil. Neither was it a picnic nor a festival. It was a gathering that combined all of that.

Responding to the wave of anti-Asian attacks in New York and across the country, the organizers, who are queer Asian, Black and Latinx, and some of whom were behind last summer’s “Brooklyn Liberation March for Black Trans Lives,” wanted to create a space that emphasized celebration and healing.

“We wanted to reimagine how community congregates in response to harm and tragedy,” said Sammy Kim, one of the organizers.

Performers and speakers included Bowen Yang, the comedian and “S.N.L.” performer; Geena Rocero, a model and activist; and the Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective of more than 60 women and nonbinary singers. Clara Lu, an artist and community organizer, performed songs on the guzheng, a traditional Chinese instrument. The clouds parted for The Illustrious Pearl, an artist and drag poet. People approached from the crowd with an outstretched arm and a tip.

The event featured free food from Asian street vendors and restaurants in Flushing and Chinatown, many of whom have suffered during the pandemic, in an effort coordinated by the Street Vendor Project and Welcome to Chinatown initiative.

The speakers addressed the continuous cycle of grief in a year of turmoil, naming recent victims of police violence.

“While we were holding space for the API+ community, we were also holding space for Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, the countless Black lives we’ve lost to institutionalized violence and the attacks on the humanity of trans folks all across the country,” said Oscar Nunez, one of the organizers and a co-founder of Papi Juice, an art collective.

“What’s happening in the world is crazy,” said LoAn Nguyen, an activist, adding an expletive for emphasis.

“I cannot believe that we are so targeted. It hurts me because it limits my mobility,” she said. “We have got to take back our safety. How do we do that? Through solidarity.”

Joomi Park, 24, recently bought her parents pepper spray with a glass breaker. “It’s just brought up a lot of conversations that I never thought I would have had with my parents,” she said.

They live in Atlanta, not far from where eight people were shot dead last month, six of them women of Asian descent. “They have a lot of grief and it’s just kind of carried over,” Ms. Park said. “But it’s so amazing just to see everyone gather today.”

As the sun set and the crowd began to disperse, the event ended with an activity that has largely ceased during the pandemic: a dance party with live D.J. sets.

“This is a vision of what it looks like when we all show up for one another,” Kim said.

It’s Tuesday — care for one another.


Dear Diary:

It was the early days of the iPod and mine had just broken.

I took it to the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. Using the vocabulary of a third grader, I tried to explain to a man at the “genius bar” what was wrong with it.

He took my device to the back of the store and then returned with it a short while later.

“I found your problem,” he said. “You have way too much Ace of Base on this.”

— Meredith Begley

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