Cuomo releases financial disclosure including taxes and $5M book income

Cuomo Under Fire

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo released a financial disclosure form on Monday. It reports the governor’s federal adjusted gross income, state tax information, and breaks down the $5.12 million in proceeds from his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons From the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

For federal income tax information, Cuomo says that his adjusted gross income was $3,593,343 and that his total tax burden was $1,225,444. That’s a roughly 34% effective tax rate, though the Governor’s Office said it’s 37%.

For his state income taxes, Cuomo says he reported an adjusted gross income of $3,588,721, with a total tax burden of $303,295. That works out to an effective tax rate of 8.4%.

In the 2020 fiscal year, Cuomo reported $3,120,000 in income from his book deal. That means his federal AGI would have been $473,343 without the book. He is slated to receive another $2 million from the deal over the next two tax years—presumably fiscal years 2021 and 2022.

Cuomo says he incurred $117,960 in expenses from “American Crisis,” and that he paid a cool $1,464,532 in taxes on that income. That’s a total net income in 2020 of $1,537,508 from the book deal. Of that, Cuomo says $500,000 was given to the United Way for COVID response. And Cuomo says that the remainder—$1,037,508—was put into a trust for his daughters.

Rich Azzopardi, Cuomo’s communications director and senior advisor opens the disclosure with a written statement:

“The Governor today released his taxes and filed his financial disclosure form with JCOPE. The notable change from year to year is income from “American Crisis.” The contract calls for payment of $3,120,000 in the last taxable year and an additional $2 million over the following 2 years. Net income from the $3,120,000 million payment less expenses and taxes is $1,537,508. From that net income, the Governor donated a third to the United Way of New York State for state-wide COVID relief and vaccination effort, and is giving the remainder in a trust for his three daughters equally who worked with the Governor during this pandemic and did what he calls ‘ tireless and effective work for all New Yorkers’ and gave him ‘the strength and love to make it through the crisis every day.'”

The Democrat had, for months, declined to say how much money he made from writing “American Crisis.” The disclosure of his big payday was made on the day his mandatory financial disclosures were due to a state ethics agency.

The book was published in October by Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, just as the state was seeing a deadly resurgence in infections. At the time, Cuomo was criticized for penning a book touting his performance on the virus while the crisis was ongoing.

Since then, he’s come under heavier criticism over the involvement of some of his staff in preparing the book for publication. In April, the state’s comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, authorized New York Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the role that some of Cuomo’s aides played in “drafting, editing sale and promotion” of the book.

Azzopardi has repeatedly said that state employees who helped with the book did so on their own time in a “volunteer” capacity. The Democrat has also been criticized by some over his administration’s decision to withhold data on COVID-19 deaths among nursing home patients for several months during the period when the book was being finalized and sold.

Critics say the administration was purposely obscuring the true death toll to mute criticism that Cuomo hadn’t done enough to protect nursing home residents. The governor and the state’s health commissioner have said the numbers were withheld because the state had trouble verifying them.

The state’s ethics commission approved Cuomo’s request to write the book last summer, but only if he followed several conditions, including making sure it was written on his own time and not using state property, personnel, or other resources for “activities associated with the book.”

The governor was also barred from advertising, promoting or endorsing his book when performing his state duties.

John Kaehny, executive director of pro-transparency group Reinvent Albany, has called for Cuomo to release his full contract with the book publisher so the public knows about potential royalties and whether Cuomo will receive additional compensation if more copies of his book are sold.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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