The Real Deal New York

Lawmakers react to report that Amazon may pull the plug on LIC campus

The Washington Post reported Friday that the company was reconsidering the deal, though sources later disputed the story
February 10, 2019 02:30PM

Clockwise from top left: Mike Gianaris, Jeff Bezos, Brad Lander, Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio (Credit: Twitter, Wikimedia Commons, Getty)

In response to Friday’s explosive report that Amazon was reassessing its plan to build a campus in Long Island City, lawmakers are speaking out.

New York State Sen. Mike Gianaris, who represents Queens and opposes the deal, characterized the report as extortion on Amazon’s part: “If they want to threaten that they won’t come here without it, that’s their decision. But we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be extorted,” he told the Wall Street Journal.

New York City council member Brad Lander took to Twitter on Saturday to air his stance on Friday’s “carefully-timed threats” from Amazon and the company’s “constant monopolistic certainty that they have the right to make their own rules & dictate them to the rest of us.”

Lander’s thread of tweets argued that the company’s history of seeking out tax breaks, Amazon’s “bullying” opposition to Seattle’s attempt to introduce a corporate head-tax to pay for affordable housing last spring, and its penchant for nondisclosure agreements, “is sending a signal that the [sic] view local democracy as a nuisance to be defeated.”

Amazon’s allies in public office, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, also addressed the report of Amazon’s reassessment of LIC on Friday.

De Blasio put out a statement through a spokesperson saying that he “fully expects Amazon to deliver on its promise to New Yorkers.”

Speaking at an event, Cuomo reportedly said the loss of the campus would be “tremendous,” and took aim at the state Senate describing senators’ opposition as “governmental malpractice,” according to the New York Times. “I’ve never seen a more absurd situation,” he reportedly said.

In response to Cuomo’s comments, a spokesperson for the State Senate’s Democratic majority released a statement to the Times: “It is unfortunate that the Governor is trying to divide the Democratic Party at this crucial and historic time.” [WSJ, NYT] — Erin Hudson