The allegations that top aides helped Gov. Andrew Cuomo write his best-selling memoir are part of a “pattern of corruption” that should be added to the multiple matters under investigation by federal and state authorities, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
“The issue here is a profound one,” de Blasio said during his daily briefing from City Hall.
“What we’re hearing now in this new report…indicates very clearly a pattern of corruption. Pure and simple. A clear, consistent pattern of corruption.”
De Blasio said the latest allegations against Cuomo dovetailed with recent revelations that his administration covered up the total number of nursing home deaths from COVID-19.
“The governor wanted to personally profit and politically profit from his book deal,” the mayor said.
“He covered up the truth about the nursing home scandal -– his team covered up the truth — to benefit himself financially and politically. That’s what we’re seeing.”
De Blasio also said that “every day, we learn something” about the governor’s alleged misdeeds and that the latest revelation “requires a full investigation.”
“The impeachment investigation now needs to look into this, and the federal investigation, the Attorney General’s investigation,” he said.
“Now they have to add corruption related to the book deal and misuse of public staff and public funds on top of the deaths of thousands of people who were in the nursing homes, the cover-up of those deaths, the fact that there have been numerous instances of sexual harassment and sexual molestation, [and] the scandal related to the Tappan Zee Bridge.”
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that top Cuomo aide Melissa DeRosa attended video meetings with publishers and help edit early drafts of his book, “American Crisis: Leadership Lessons from the Covid-19 Pandemic,” for which he was offered a top bid of $4 million.
Another high-ranking aide, Stephanie Benton, also reportedly twice asked assistants to print out portions of the manuscript and deliver them to Cuomo’s official residence, the heavily guarded Executive Mansion in Albany — where he’s been accused of groping an unidentified female aide late last year.
On Wednesday, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said that DeRosa and Benton had “volunteered on this project,” adding that it was “permissible and consistent with ethical requirements.”
Cuomo’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on de Blasio’s remarks.