METROFOCUS SPECIAL: AMAZON: CUOMO TRIES, BEZOS DENIES

Gov. Cuomo spent the last two weeks working feverishly to convince the retail giant to reconsider pulling out of Long Island City, to no avail. The deal is dead. Tonight, we have the pros, the cons and the facts.

Aired March 1, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON METRO FOCUS -- SPECIAL REPORT.

IS THE REALITY OF AMAZON HQ2 IN QUEENS DEAD?

ACCORDING TO A 'NEW YORK TIMES' REPORT THE GOVERNOR SPENT THE LAST TWO WEEKS WORKING OVERTIME TO CONVINCE THE RETAIL GIANT TO RECONSIDER PULLING OUT OF LONG ISLAND CITY AND A GROUP OF SOME OF NEW YORK'S PROMINENT UNION AND POLITICAL LEADERS PUBLISHED A LETTER IN THE 'NEW YORK TIMES' IMPLORING THE COMPANY TO RETURN TO THE CITY.

BUT IN AN INTERVIEW THE GOVERNOR ADMITTED HE HAS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT AMAZON IS CONSIDERING A MOVE BACK.

> IN A MOMENT A DEEP DIVE INTO ALL THE FACETS OF THIS FLUID SITUATION.

> THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

♪ ♪ ♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL P.RAMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- JAMES AND MERRILL TISH.

SUE AND WALKENHEIM III.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE & G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M RAFAEL P PI RAMAN.

ACCORDING TO A REPORT BY 'THE NEW YORK TIMES,' GOVERNOR CUOMO SPENT THE LAST TWO WEEKS WORKING THE FINES, TRYING TO LURE AMAZON BACK TO THE TABLE.

HAVING MULTIPLE CONVERSATIONS WITH COMPANY EXECUTIVES INCLUDING AMAZON FOUNDER JEFF BEZOS.

A NEW YORK'S PITCH TO AMAZON WENT PUBLIC THIS MORNING, WHEN A GROUP OF LAWMAKERS, UNION LEADERS AND BUSINESS EXECUTIVES PUBLISHED A FULL-PAGE OPEN LETTER IN THE 'NEW YORK TIMES' ADDRESSED TO MR. BEZOS, TELLING HIM THAT A MAJORITY OF NEW YORKERS REALLY DO WANT AMAZON AND HIS 25,000 JOBS TO COME HERE.

BUT IN AN INTERVIEW WITH WNYC'S TODAY, THE GOVERNOR ADMITTED THAT HE HAS NO REASON TO BELIEVE THAT AMAZON IS RECONSIDERING A MOVE BACK.

SO AS IT STANDS NOW, THE DEAL IS STILL DEAD.

KILLED ACCORDING TO AMAZON, BY VOCAL OPPOSITION FROM SOME LOCAL LAWMAKERS, OPPOSITION THAT REVOLVED MAINLY AROUND THE MERELY $3 BILLION IN INCENTIVES THAT THE CITY AND STATE HAD PROMISED THE COMPANY.

> SO WHAT HAPPENED?

WHO IS TO BLAME?

AND WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN FOR THE FUTURE OF NEW YORK CITY BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND POLITICALLY?

JOINING US TO ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS ARE QUEENS COUNCILMEMBER JIMMY VAN BRAMER, A DEMOCRAT WHO REPRESENTS LONG ISLAND CITY, ONE OF THE MOST VOCAL OPPONENTS OF THE AMAZON DEAL.

CITY COUNCIL MAJORITY WHIP AND BEN MAX, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE 'GOTHAM GAZETTE' WHO HAS BEEN COVERING THE STORY FROM DAY ONE.

BEN, LET ME START WITH YOU.

CAN YOU GIVE US THE CONTOURS OF THE HQ2 DEAL BETWEEN AMAZON AND THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR WHAT DID THE CITY PROMISE AMAZON?

AND WHAT DID AMAZON PROMISE TO GIVE TO THE CITY?

SOME BROAD STROKES, I'M SURE MY COLLEAGUES ON THE PANEL WILL FILL IN SOME OTHER DETAILS.

BUT AMAZON WAS GOING TO GET ACCESS TO A LARGE PARCEL OF LAND IN WESTERN QUEENS, VERY INTERESTING SPACE.

TO BUILD A SPRAWLING CAMPUS, WAS GOING TO ACCESS ABOUT $2.5 BILLION IN TAX BREAKS.

THAT VIRTUALLY ANY COMPANY COULD HAVE ACCESSED.

BUT WAS GOING TO HAVE ACCESS TO THOSE.

AND THERE WAS A $500 MILLION STATE GRANT TO HELP WITH THE CONSTRUCTION WHICH SEEMS TO BE AIMED AT HELPING OFFSET SOME OF THE COSTS OF USING UNION LABOR IN THAT CONSTRUCTION.

THERE WAS A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SIGNED BETWEEN THE THREE PARTIES THAT HAD A VARIETY OF OTHER DETAILS IN IT, INCLUDING SOME OUTREACH BY AMAZON TO THE LOCAL NITSHA COMPLEX AND OTHER PROMISES FROM AMAZON THAT WERE A LITTLE TOO SMALL IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY WOULD GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY.

THAT'S THE BROAD CONTOURS OF THE AGREEMENT.

TO LURE AMAZON TO BUILD THIS CAMPUS AND PROVIDE AS YOU SAID, ROUGHLY 25,000 JOBS.

SO COUNCILMEMBER VAN BRAMER, YOU WERE IN SUPPORT OF AMAZON COMING TO NEW YORK CITY AT ONE POINT IN FACT I THINK IT WAS IN OCTOBER OF 2017, THAT YOU WERE A SIGNATORY TO A LETTER TO JEFF BEZOS, THE HEAD OF AMAZON.

MAKING THE ARGUMENT THAT AMAZON AND NEW YORK CITY WOULD BE PERFECT TOGETHER.

BUT YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND.

WHAT CHANGED FOR YOU?

THE HORRIBLE DEAL THAT WAS STRUCK IN SECRECY BY THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR.

AND THE DETAILS ONCE YOU ACTUALLY DELVE INTO THE DETAILS OF THIS.

NO ONE IS AGAINST JOBS.

AND THAT'S WHY A NUMBER OF US SIGNED THE LETTER.

BUT IT'S, WHAT WAS PROMISED AND WHAT WAS EXTRACTED IN RETURN THAT FORMED THE BASIS OF OUR OPPOSITION.

AND TRUTH IS THE MORE I LEARNED ABOUT THE DEAL THAT WAS STRUCK, WHICH I NEVER SIGNED ON TO, AND I NEVER SUPPORTED, THE MORE I WAS VERY CLEARLY OPPOSED TO WHAT THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR IN SECRECY HAD DONE.

FIRST OF ALL, BYPASSING THE CITY COUNCIL AND OUR TRADITIONAL LAND REVIEW PROCESS WAS A NONSTARTER FOR ME FROM THE BEGINNING.

THEY SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT.

THEY WENT AHEAD, ANYWAY.

OBVIOUSLY AMAZON'S ANTI-UNION PRACTICES, A BIG CONCERN FOR SOMEONE LIKE MYSELF WHO GREW UP IN A UNION HOUSEHOLD AND THE SIZE OF THE SUBSIDIES, WHILE MOST OF THEM WERE RIGHT, THE $500 MILLION CASH GRANTS TO BUILD THE BUILDING, WAS OBSCENE.

AND THERE'S SOME OTHER ISSUES OBVIOUSLY THAT WE HAD AS WELL WITH HOW THIS WENT DOWN.

THIS WAS BUNGLED FROM THE BEGINNING.

THE ROLLOUT WAS DONE IN A WAY THAT FEW COULD HAVE PREDICTED HOW POORLY IT WOULD GO.

AND THEN THE DEFENSE OF THIS DEAL FROM THE PROPONENTS OF IT WAS EQUALLY BAD.

AND AMAZON AT THE END OF THE DAY CHOSE TO CUT AND RUN RATHER THAN DEAL WITH THE ISSUES AND FACE THE TOUGH QUESTIONS THAT THE CITY COUNCIL IS OBLIGATED TO ASK THEM.

COUNCIL MEMBER YOU MADE A BIG ISSUE AND MENTION IT HERE ABOUT THE ANTI-UNION STANCE AND PRACTICES OF AMAZON.

BUT THEY'RE NOT YOU.

YOU KNOW, YOU MUST HAVE KNOWN THEM WHEN YOU SIGNED ON TO THE LETTER IN OCTOBER.

YOU KNOW I USED TO BE A UNION ORGANIZER, SAID YOU CAN'T ORGANIZE THEM IF THEY'RE NOT IN TOWN WHAT DID THE UNION, THE UNION AND UNION WORKERS GAIN BY PUSHING THEM OUT OF NEW YORK?

WELL LOOK, FROM MY PERSPECTIVE, IF WE HAD ROLLED OVER HERE, AND DECIDED NOT TO MAKE A STAND -- WHEN AN ANTI-UNION DECIDEDLY ANTI-UNION COMPANY COMES IN, DECLARING OPENLY AT THE CITY COUNCIL HEARING THAT NOT ONLY ARE WE NOT IN FAVOR OF UNIONS, BUT IF THOSE WORKERS AT THEIR FULFILLMENT CENTERS ATTEMPT TO ORGANIZE, WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE RICHEST PEOPLE.

NOT TALKING ABOUT THE PEOPLE MAKING 150, $200,000, THE PEOPLE MAKING $18 OR $20 AN HOUR.

IF THOSE WORKERS ATTEMPT TO ORGANIZE, AMAZON TOLD US AT THE CITY COUNCIL IN RESPONSE TO THE SPEAKER'S QUESTION, WE WILL CRUSH THEM.

WE WILL ACTIVELY FIGHT THEIR ATTEMPTS TO ORGANIZE.

THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE.

IF WE ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN WITH AMAZON, EVERY OTHER COMPANY COMING AFTER WILL SAY YOU KNOW WHAT, YOU DIDN'T STAND UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE THERE.

THEN WE'RE GOING TO COME IN AND DO THE SAME THING.

COUNCILMEMBER BURRELLI, YOU SUPPORTED DEAL, ALL THE THINGS THAT VAN BRAMER JUST SAID DIDN'T GIVE YOU PAUSE?

NO.

THESE ARE GREAT ARGUMENTS FOR FIGHTING THE UNIONIZATION PROBLEM AT AMAZON FULFILLMENT CENTERS, BUT WE ALREADY HAVE AN AMAZON FULFILLMENT CENTER.

AND THAT ARGUMENT HAS OCCURRED OVER THE LAST YEAR AND A HALF.

PEOPLE MAKE BETWEEN $19 AND $21 AN HOUR.

BUT THAT SAID, I THINK HE IS RIGHT ABOUT THE ROLLOUT OF THIS BEING A MAJOR PROBLEM.

GOVERNOR CUOMO AND BILL DE BL BLASIO, FUMBLED THIS ON THE 40 YARD LINE.

AND BEN AND I JOKED BACKSTAGE, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT JOE ROCOCCO WOULD HAVE HAD A BETTER GRASP ON.

HE WOULD HAVE MADE SURE PEOPLE LOBBING GRENADES LATER ON WHEN THEY WERE CUTTING THE RIBBON.

HE'S AN ASSOCIATE OF THE GOVERNOR WHO WAS CONVICTED OF CORRUPTION.

BUT HE WAS GOOD AT HIS JOB.

SO WE SHOULD GIVE HIM THAT.

BUT THE THING I SEE IS THAT THERE'S POINT A, SOME PEOPLE, MANY PEOPLE WERE IN FAVOR OF AMAZON COMING TO NEW YORK.

AND POINT B WHERE SUDDENLY THE COMPANY WAS IMMORAL.

THE ONLY THING BETWEEN POINT A AND POINT B ARE THREE LETTERS, AOC.

WHEN SHE CAME OUT AGAINST IT IT CHANGED THE WHOLE DYNAMIC.

THE COMPANY WENT FROM SOMETHING THAT COULD BE A POSITIVE TO NEW YORK.

TO SOMETHING THAT'S IMMORAL FOR NEW YORK.

THAT SHAPED THE DIALOGUE.

I WANT TO SAY TWO THINGS ON WHAT'S BEEN SAID SO FAR.

ONE IS I THINK IT'S VALID CRITICISM TO SAY TO PEOPLE WHO WELCOMED AMAZON IN THE FIRST PLACE, HAD YOU A SENSE OF THE COMPANY'S PRACTICES.

SO IF YOU'RE WILLING TO WELCOME THEM IN, YOU HAD TO HAVE KNOWN ABOUT SOME OF THESE ISSUES.

AND MAYOR DE BLASIO AMONG OTHERS FEIGNED OR ACTUALLY HAD IGNORANCE ABOUT AMAZON WORKING WITH I.C.E. OR THINGS THAT OTHER CRITICS WERE RAISING.

SO THAT'S ONE.

BUT TO SAY THAT PEOPLE COULD ARGUE WE WOULD LIKE AMAZON TO CONSIDER NEW YORK, BUT THEN HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE DETAILS OF THE DEAL, THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT, I DON'T THINK IN JUST AN OBJECTIVE VIEWPOINT, WOULD SAY HEY COME CONSIDER NEW YORK.

WE HAVE A LOT TO OFFER BUT NOT LIKE THE PRODUCT.

THAT'S A BIT OF WHERE COUNCILMEMBER VAN BRAMER WOUND UP AS HE INDICATED.

DO YOU AGREE WITH COUNCILMEMBER BURRELLI THAT AOC WAS A BIG FACTOR?

IT WASN'T JUST THE ECONOMIC DEMERITS OF THE DEAL.

BUT THAT SUDDENLY SHE DEFEATS JOE CROWLEY AND ALL ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE AFRAID OF OPPOSITION FROM THE LEFT?

WELL I THINK COUNCILMEMBER VAN BRAMER AND SENATOR JENERIS AND OTHERS CAN ANSWER ABOUT THEIR OWN FEARS AND CONCERNS.

I WILL SAY UNDOUBTEDLY HER WIN SHIFTED THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE.

THERE WAS ALREADY A MOVEMENT IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TOWARDS THE LEFT.

THAT'S UNDENIABLE.

THAT SHE ACCELERATED?

OF COURSE, DID SHE ACCELERATE IT IN THAT AREA OF THE CITY?

ABSOLUTELY.

BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN -- LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE A VERY LONG HISTORY OF NOT BEING HAPPY WHEN THEY'RE CUT OUT OF A DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.

SO SHE DIDN'T CHANGE THAT.

SHE SHIFTED THE LANDSCAPE.

BUT I CAN'T SAY FOR SURE HOW COUNCILMEMBER VAN BRAMER OR ANYBODY ELSE WOULD HAVE REACTED DIFFERENTLY IF JOE CROWLEY WAS STILL IN CONGRESS.

THE AOC FACTOR?

WITH GREAT RESPECT TO MY COLLEAGUE AND TO BEN, I THINK SHE IS OF COURSE AN IMPORTANT PLAYER IN OUR THEM OF THE WOODS, SHES DID NOT REPRESENT THE AREA WHERE WOULD HAVE BEEN BY THE WAY.

BUT LET ME JUST SAY THIS -- ALEXANDRA OCASIO CORTEZ WHO I'M PROUD TO CALL MY COUNCILWOMAN GETS TOO MUCH CREDIT AND TOO MUCH BLAME FOR ALL OF THIS.

SHE IS AN IMPORTANT PERSON IN THIS PROCESS, BECAUSE SHE REPRESENT AS BIG PORTION OF OUR DISTRICT AND SHE HAS HELPED SHIFT BOTH THE DIALOGUE.

BUT ALSO THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF QUEENS IN BIG WAYS.

BUT I'M NOT SOLELY MOTIVATED BY ALEXANDRA OCASIO CORTEZ'S POSITION.

EVERYBODY IS LOOKING FOR EASY ANSWERS AND SCAPEGOATS FOR PEOPLE TO BLAME.

THIS IS A COMPLICATED DEAL THAT WAS DONE IN SECRET.

THAT WAS ROLLED OUT JUST HORRIFICALLY.

THAT LED TO THIS SNOWBALL EFFECT.

AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, ALEXANDRIA OCASIO CORTEZ DID NOT KILL THIS DEAL.

AMAZON CHOSE TO LEAVE NEW YORK.

SHAME ON THEM.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THE SECRECY OF THE DEAL MAKING.

DIDN'T YOU KNOW OVER THE COURSE OF A YEAR THAT -- THAT THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR WERE NEGOTIATING WITH AMAZON?

I DON'T REMEMBER HEARING THE CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS OR ANY OTHER ELECTED OFFICIAL COMPLAINING ABOUT THE SECRECY OF THE DEAL WHILE IT WAS GOING ON.

WE DIDN'T KNOW.

THEY HAD --

THEY HAD SIGNED NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS SO THEY WERE NOT ABLE TO TELL US.

BUT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR OF 2018 I BELIEVE, IS WHEN, IT'S WHEN AMAZON SAID YES, NEW YORK IS, WAS A FINALIST?

CONTENTION, BUT THERE WERE LOTS OF OTHER CITIES THAT WERE AS WELL.

WE HAD NO INKLING, NOR WERE WE EVER TOLD THAT WE WERE GOING TO BE CHOSEN AND WE WERE NEVER TOLD THAT THEY WERE NEGOTIATING THE DEAL.

THEY WERE ACTUALLY PROHIBITED FROM SHARING THAT INFORMATION.

PART OF THE OUTRAGEOUSNESS OF THIS IS THAT THE CITY AND STATE SIGNED NONDISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS WHICH ACTUALLY LEGALLY PREVENTED THEM FROM SHARING WITH THE LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS WHAT WOULD BE DISCUSSED, WHAT WAS BEING TALKED ABOUT.

WAS THERE ANY REASON WHY OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS BESIDES THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR COULD HAVE BEEN PART OF THE NEGOTIATIONS?

COULD THEY HAVE HAD COREY JOHNSON OR YOU BE PART OF THAT NEGOTIATION?

I THINK THEY WERE PREVENTED FROM DOING SO.

AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE OBSCURE BOARD THAT JENERIS IS ON HAD THE POWER TO KILL THE DEAL.

THIS IS NOT THE C.I.A.

MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT, WE'RE NOT DEALING WITH THE NORTH KOREANS, THERE'S NO SECRETS, THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE DONE TRANSPARENTLY AND OPENLY.

WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO FIND OUT THAT THE GOVERNOR AND MAYOR WERE NEGOTIATING WITH SIGNIFICANT TAX REVENUES FOR A COMPANY AGAIN -- YES, EVERY COMPANY TECHNICALLY ABLE TO ACCESS THIS.

BUT WHETHER THE LEGISLATION THAT CREATES THESE INCENTIVES IS CREATED FROM LEGISLATION OR THROUGH THE REGIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCILS, THEY'RE WRITTEN IN A WAY AND DESIGNED FOR SPECIFIC CLIENTS IN MIND.

THAT'S WHAT WE SAW HERE THIS WAS A DEAL FOR AMAZON, WITH AMAZON.

AND IT PLAYS TO THE BIGGER PROBLEM, IF WE CONTINUE TO BE THE CRONY CAPITALIST STATE WHERE WE HAVE HIGH TAXES FOR EVERYONE AND DANGLE STICKS AND CARROTS IN FRONT OF CERTAIN COMPANIES, WE SHOULDN'T BE SURPRISED.

ARE YOU SURE YOU SUPPORTED THIS DEAL?

NO, LOOK -- I WANT TO SEE AMAZON COME, RIGHT?

I WOULD PREFER IF THEY CAME BECAUSE HE THEY WANTED TO BE IN NEW YORK.

OTHER COMPANIES DO COME HERE.

COMPANIES THAT NEED TO BE HERE, FINANCE INDUSTRY, ET CETERA.

THEY COME HERE.

WE SET UP THIS SYSTEM WHERE IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO COMPETE WITH OTHER STATES IN OUR REGION.

AND THEN WE'RE FORCED TO GO BACK AND SORT OF PEEL BACK THE LAYERS OF ONION, TRY TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE CAN MAKE THIS COMPANY VIABLE IN THE STATE.

IT SHOULD BE VIABLE FROM THE BEGINNING.

THERE'S A BIG OUTSTANDING QUESTION HERE ABOUT WHETHER, WHAT I THINK COUNCILMAN BURRELLI DOES SAY, IS ACTUALLY APPLIES TO AMAZON.

BECAUSE AMAZON SEEMINGLY REALLY WANTED TO BE IN NEW YORK.

THE MONEY THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THAT AMAZON WAS GOING TO RECEIVE IN THOSE TAX INCENTIVES OR THE CASH GRANT, IS SORT OF A PITTANCE COMPARED TO WHAT THE COMPANY STOOD TO GAIN AND EARNS ACROSS THE GLOBE.

SO ONE OF THE BIG OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS HERE IS WHETHER THE MAYOR AND THE GOVERNOR COULD HAVE NEGOTIATED A BETTER DEAL TO SAY OKAY, ACCESS THOSE TAX BREAKS, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO REINVEST THAT MONEY IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY TO DEAL WITH ISSUES LIKE SEWAGE, TRANSIT, AFFORDABLE HOUSING, SCHOOL SEATS, SOME OF THE THINGS THAT OPPONENTS WERE WORKED UP ABOUT.

AND IT MAKES SENSE TO ASK THOSE QUESTIONS.

AND THE MAYOR AND THE GOVERNOR CONSISTENTLY SAYING WE'LL FIGURE OUT WAYS TO DEAL WITH THAT.

AND THAT DIDN'T ASSUAGE MUCH OF THAT.

I DON'T KNOW IN AMAZON'S CASE, THAT THOSE INCENTIVES WERE A MAKE-OR-BREAK.

THAT'S A QUESTION I'LL ASK ALL OF YOU.

ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS MADE BY THE OPPONENTS IS THAT THIS NATIONAL SEARCH FOR A SITE FOR HQ2 WAS A BIG SHAM.

THAT AMAZON FROM THE VERY BEGINNING INTENDED TO LOCATE ITSELF NEAR OR IN THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT CENTERS OF THE COUNTRY, THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL OF THE COUNTRY, NEW YORK, AND THE POLITICAL CAPITAL, WASHINGTON, D.C.

AND THAT THE SEARCH WAS ONLY A WAY IT TRY TO GET MORE MONEY FROM THE PLACES WHERE THEY INTENDED TO, TO PLACE THEMSELVES, ANYWAY.

DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

I ABSOLUTELY THINK THAT'S TRUE.

IF ANYTHING GOOD COMES OF THIS.

IT'S GOT TO BE HOW WE TAKE A LOOK AT THESE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS DEALS AND CITIES AND STATES ACROSS THE COUNTRY SHOULD BAND TOGETHER AND SAY WE'RE NOT GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THESE SORTS OF COMPETITIONS.

WHERE THE RICHEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD IS EXTRACTING RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF SUBSIDIES FROM CITIES THAT REALLY SHOULDN'T EVEN BE OFFERING.

PITTSBURGH OFFERED $9 BILLION.

A BEAUTIFUL CHARMING LITTLE CITY.

BUT PITTSBURGH OFFERING $9 BILLION IS INCREDIBLE.

AND LET ME JUST SAY WHEN I BELIEVE FIRMLY JEFF BEZOS WANTED TO COME HERE FROM THE BEGINNING, ALL THAT DID WAS DRIVE UP NEW YORK'S PRICE.

AND DRIVE UP WHAT WE WERE OFFERING.

WE LOOK AT AMAZON BECAUSE THEY CALLED IF A CONTEST.

BUT EVERY COMPANY IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IS HAVING THESE OWN LITTLE MINI CONTESTS IN THEIR OWN BOARD ROOMS WHEN THEY'RE WEIGHING WHERE TO LOCATE CENTERS.

I HAD THE PLEASURE OF LAST YEAR OF SITTING DOWN WITH THE GOVERNOR OF TEXAS AND TECH INDUSTRY FOLKS FROM NEW YORK CITY.

HE WAS JUST PEELING THEM AWAY AND INCENTIVIZING THEM NOT WITH ANYTHING SPECIAL FOR THEM.

BUT JUST A GENERAL BUSINESS CLIMATE OF TEXAS.

THE SUBURBS OF AUSTIN IN PARTICULAR AND THE VIBRANT CITY THAT AUSTIN HAD BECOME.

I DON'T WANT TO REVEAL WHICH COMPANIES WERE IN THE MEETING.

BECAUSE IT'S INAPPROPRIATE.

BUT SOME OF THEM DID MOVE TO AUSTIN, TEXAS TO GREAT FANFARE.

THIS IS PROBLEM THAT WE FACE.

MR. VAN BRAMER, REGARDLESS OF ALL OF THIS, ALL THE PROBLEMS, SANAA ARE OBVIOUS WITH THIS DEAL THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL SAY TO YOU -- LOOK, OKAY, TERRIBLE DEAL.

YOU KNOW, LET'S ADMIT THAT.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT 25,000 JOBS, MILLIONS, PERHAPS BILLIONS IN ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.

BILLIONS IN TAX REVENUES.

COULD YOU NOT HAVE INSTEAD OF IMMEDIATELY LOUDLY AND PUBLICLY ATTACK THE COMPANY AND THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR, COULD YOU HAVE CONSTRUCTIVELY, CIVILLY, QUIETLY, TALKED TO THESE IS PARTICIPATORS IN THE DEAL TO TRY TO GET A DEAL?

A DEAL MADE BETTER?

FIRST OF ALL, A LOT OF DISINFORMATION GOING ON.

I SEE PEOPLE SAYING I NEVER MET WITH AMAZON.

I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO ACTUALLY SAT DOWN WITH AMAZON AND TALKED WITH THEM AND MET WITH THEM.

I BELIEVE THAT'S OUR ROLE IN GOVERNMENT.

YOU SHOULD MEET WITH PEOPLE, NOT JUST THE PEOPLE YOU AGREE WITH.

THE TRUTH IS THAT OUR OBLIGATION AS ELECTED OFFICIALS, PARTICULARLY WHEN THE CITY COUNCIL WAS CUT OUT OF THIS ENTIRELY WAS TO ASSERT OUR RIGHTFUL ROLE TO ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS.

THAT'S WHAT I DID.

I HAVE A HARD TIME BELIEVING THAT THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD AND A TRILLION-DOLLAR CORPORATION DECIDED TO LEAVE NEW YORK BECAUSE I WAS NOT NICE TO THEM.

THEY HAVE TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER TOUGH QUESTIONS.

THE TRUTH IS, THEY LEFT.

THEY HAD AN OPPORTUNITY.

LABOR WAS AT THE TABLE WITH THEM.

EVEN AS OF A COUPLE OF DAYS BEFORE THEY PULLED OUT.

THERE WERE POSSIBLE WAYS IT REACH DEALS THERE WERE POSSIBLE AGREEMENTS THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED HERE.

AMAZON AT THE END OF THE DAY DECIDED TO PULL OUT AND KILL THE DEAL THEMSELVES.

THAT'S ON THEM.

MY JOB IS NOT TO BE POLITE TO THE RICHEST MAN IN THE WORLD.

MY JOB IS TO ASK TOUGH QUESTIONS.

YOU KNOW THE LOUDEST VOICES BEFORE AMAZON LEFT WERE THOSE WHO WERE AGAINST THE DEAL.

AFTER THE DEAL COLLAPSED, IT SEEMS LIKE THE LOUDEST VOICES WHO HAVE BEEN THOSE WHO ARE ANGRY BECAUSE THE DEAL COLLAPSED.

A LOT OF YOUR CONSTITUENTS, THE HEADS OF THE NYCHA SENT OUT A JOINT STATEMENT ATTACKING YOU PERSONALLY FOR NOT MAKING A DEAL AND NOT TALKING TO THEM AND NOT CARING ABOUT THEM.

DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU?

NO, I THINK PEOPLE ALWAYS WHO ARE ANGRY ARE LOUDER.

I WILL SAY I MET WITH APRIL SIMPSON, THE HEAD OF THE QUEENS BRIDGE ASSOCIATION AT HER OFFICE ON THIS ISSUE.

I DON'T BEGRUDGE ANYONE WHO FEELS STRONGLY THAT THEY WANTED THE DEAL AND THEY WANTED THESE THINGS TO HAPPEN.

I THINK AMAZON WAS MAKING A LOT OF PROMISES AND THE TRUTH IS, THE MAYOR AND THE GOVERNOR BOTCHED THIS THING IN PART BY SELLING PEOPLE ON THE IDEA THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING.

MEANWHILE NO CONTRACTS WERE EVER SIGNED.

NO AGREEMENTS WERE EVER MADE.

AND PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE BEEN WARNED THIS WAS A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING THAT EVERYONE COULD PULL OUT OF AS WE HAVE SEEN HAPPEN.

AND INSTEAD, PEOPLE WERE GOING TO THE BANK WITH CHECKS THAT AMAZON WASN'T COMMITTED TO WRITING.

AND THAT'S ON THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR AND ALSO I WOULD JUST SAY ONCE AGAIN, THE DEFENSE OF THIS DEAL WAS PATHETIC, RIGHT?

THE MAYOR IN HIS STATE OF THE CITY SPEECH, I WENT THERE, THAT'S WHERE YOU TELL YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS, HE MENTIONED IT ONCE IN ONE LINE AND WENT AS FAR AWAY FROM THE DEAL AS HE COULD.

THEY DIDN'T STAND UP THE DEAL THEY CRAFTED.

WE ASKED THE TOUGH QUESTIONS, THAT'S WHY AMAZON LEFT.

THIS IS A TOUGH CITY.

IF YOU CAN'T TAKE CRITICISM, IF I CAN'T TAKE CRITICISM, I SHOULDN'T BE IN PUBLIC OFFICE.

IF THEY CAN'T TAKE CRITICISM, THEY CAN'T COME TO NEW YORK CITY.

MR. BURRELLI, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

WHAT DOES THIS DO FOR THE POSTURE OF NEW YORK CITY AS WELCOMING TO HIGH TECH AND TO BUSINESSES IN GENERAL AND WHAT ARE THE LESSONS?

IT SHOWS THAT TRADITIONALLY AND MORE SO TODAY, WE'RE WILLING TO ENGAGE IN THIS SORT OF GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY WHEN IT COMES TO WELCOMING BUSINESSES.

AND WE HAVE STICK-AND-CARROT APPROACH TO BUSINESSES AND THE BARRELS ARE SOME OBSCURE POLITICAL BOARD THAT COULD EVENTUALLY ELIMINATE A COMPANY'S ABILITY TO OPEN UP AS THEY SEE FIT HERE.

GOING FORWARD, I DON'T KNOW, I REACHED OUT TO AMAZON.

STATEN ISLAND WE HAVE LAND AVAILABLE THAT WOULD BE CHEAPER FOR THEM TO CONSTRUCT, CHEAPER FOR THEM TO OPERATE.

ALREADY HAVE A FULFILLMENT CENTER IN MY DISTRICT.

ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS IS TO ADDRESS SOMETHING THAT THE COUNCILMEMBER SAID THERE WAS A LOT OF MISSION CREEP.

AS WE SAW TOWARD THE FINAL DAYS OF THE DEBATE, THE ARGUMENTS WEREN'T OVER ANY PARTICULAR POINT OF THE DEAL, THE SUBSIDIES OR JOBS.

THEY WERE CONFLATED WITH AMAZON'S COOPERATION WITH THE I.C.E., WITH THE OVERALL CRUMBLING OF SUBWAYS, EVERY ISSUE THAT AMAZON DOESN'T NECESSARILY CONTROL OR THAT WE DON'T HAVE CONTROL TO EVEN ENFORCE OVER THEM.

PEOPLE LIKE AOC POISONED THE WELL.

WHEN SHE SAID TO REAL NEW YORKERS THIS IS A CHOICE BETWEEN GIVING $3 BILLION TO AMAZON, OR TO $3 BILLION TOWARDS SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT WE ACTUALLY FACE AS NEW YORKERS.

I THINK THAT WAS WHY AMAZON JUST SAID -- IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT WE SAY IN TERMS OF THE SPECIFICS OF THIS DEAL.

PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE AGAINST IT BECAUSE THE WELL HAS BEEN POISONED.

I'LL SAY THIS IS A LITTLE BIT OF A UNICORN DEAL.

AMAZON IS THE BIGGEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD.

AND YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A 25,000 JOBS, SPRAWLING CAMPUS.

I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY TIMES WE'RE GOING TO SEE ANYTHING CLOSE TO THIS ON THE TABLE.

SO THE LESSONS FROM THIS, I DON'T KNOW HOW ACCOMPLISHABLE THEY ARE TO OTHER CASES.

THERE ARE CERTAINLY ASPECTS, CERTAINLY, DISCUSSIONS AROUND YOU WANT TO BUILD SOMETHING MASSIVE IN NEW YORK.

YOU WANT TO RELOCATE.

BUT WHAT'S YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE COMMUNITY?

HOW DO YOU TREAT YOUR WORKERS?

THESE THINGS WILL COME UP.

THE GOVERNMENT PROCESSES INVOLVED ARE ALWAYS PART OF THE DISCUSSION AND WHETHER LOCAL OFFICIALS AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES HAVE INPUT.

BUT AMAZON IS A FAIRLY UNIQUE CHARACTER IN OUR WORLD CONVERSATION AND THE WORLD ECONOMY.

IS IT SO UNIQUE THAT IT DOESN'T TELL OTHER COMPANIES THAT MIGHT WANT TO LOCATE TO NEW YORK CITY WHAT TO DO OR WHAT NOT TO DO?

MAYBE NOT TO LOCATE HERE?

THERE'S LESSONS TO BE LEARNED.

I DON'T KNOW THAT THERE'S A LOT OF COMPANIES THAT WOULD BE LOORKING AT THIS SITUATION AND SAYING WELL THIS MEANS WE CAN'T GO TO NEW YORK.

I JUST, THAT'S VERY HARD TO SEE GIVEN ALL OF THE POSITIVES THAT NEW YORK HAS.

SHOULD THERE BE A REAL CONVERSATION ABOUT DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS SEEM TO AGREE, THESE TAX INCENTIVES AND THE PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN IN PLACE FOR A WHILE NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED.

THAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

THERE SHOULD BE VERY SERIOUS QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW NEW YORK ENGAGES IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TRYING TO LURE BUSINESSES HERE.

AND WHAT IS THE OVERALL BUSINESS CLIMATE.

THE LESSONS?

I WOULD JUST ADD THEY'RE NOT AT THE TABLE HERE.

BUT ONE OF THE LESSONS I HOPE THAT'S LEARNED IS THAT DEALS LIKE THIS SHOULDN'T BE DONE IN SECRET.

KEPT FROM LOCAL LEGISLATORS AND ANNOUNCED YOU'RE GOING TO BYPASS THE LOCAL LAND USE PROCESS.

I WOULD ASK THE GOVERNOR AND THE MAYOR, IF YOU HAD TO DO THIS ALL OVER AGAIN -- WOULD YOU DO IT THAT WAY?

WOULD YOU DO EVERYTHING DID YOU THE SAME?

OR WOULD YOU HAVE ACTUALLY CALLED A TIME-OUT AFTER YOU THOUGHT YOU HAD AN AGREEMENT, AND THEN SAT DOWN WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND AGREED TO GO THROUGH MUELLER?

I DON'T THINK AMAZON KNEW WHAT THE HECK MUELLER WAS.

THEY'RE IN SEATTLE.

BUT THEY ARE THE ONES WHO CONVINCED AMAZON, THIS IS THE WAY TO GO THIS IS THE WAY TO GUARANTEE THAT THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

I HEARD THE WORD CERTAINTY ALL THE TIME.

BUT IT DIDN'T GIVE THEM THE CERTAINTY BECAUSE IT WAS BOTCHED.

I WOULD SAY WE STILL WANT JOBS, WE WANT INVESTMENT.

WE WANT COMPANIES TO COME TO NEW YORK AND THEY WILL.

NEW YORK IS ALWAYS GOING TO BE THE GREATEST CITY.

BUT YOU'VE GOT TO DO IT IN A WAY THAT INCLUDES THE LOCAL COMMUNITY AND INCLUDES LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THAT IS RESPONSIVE TO THE LOCAL NEIGHBORHOOD.

IN 30 SECONDS, THE BIGGEST POLITICAL WINNERS, THE BIGGEST POLITICAL LOSERS?

I THINK WE NEED MAYBE SOME MORE ELECTION CYCLES BEFORE WE KNOW THAT.

WE'RE GOING TO SEE, COUNCILMEMBER VAN BRAMER IS GOING TO HAVE ONE COMING UP.

WE'LL SEE WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE.

AS WELL AS SENATOR GENERIS.

I WOULD CONTINUE ONE POINT.

AMAZON DICTATED A LOT OF THE TERMS HERE, IT IS WORTH CONNECTING THE DOTS TO WHAT AMAZON IS DOING AROUND THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD TO LOOK AT HOW THE COMPANY IS OPERATING AND WHAT IT'S DECIDING TO DO AND WHERE IT'S DECIDING TO GO.

> THAT WILL HAVE TO BE IT.

GENTLEMEN THANK YOU SO MUCH.

IT'S BEEN AN INTERESTING CONVERSATION.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- JAMES AND MERRILL TISH, SUE AND EDGAR WALKENHEIM III.

THE SILL VAE VIA A. AND SIMON B.

PROGRAM TO FIGHT ANTISEMITISM.

ROSALIND P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG.

AND BY --

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