A recent report from the Wall Street Journal alleges that e-commerce giant Amazon kept a “burn book” of mean comments made by New York City politicians about the e-commerce giant during the conflict over the HQ2 project planned for the Big Apple.
In an article titled: “The Missing Piece of Amazon’s New York Debacle: It Kept a Burn Book,” the Wall Street Journal outlines how e-commerce giant Amazon kept a private dossier which cataloged in intense detail the insults it received from New York politicians and labor leaders over the proposed construction of the firm’s HQ2 in New York City.
The WSJ writes:
In a private dossier kept at the time, whose existence has gone previously unreported, Amazon executives cataloged in minute detail the insults they saw coming from New York politicians and labor leaders, according to a copy viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
By late January, Amazon executives had been pummeled at two public hearings. The burn book, which was kept in a Microsoft Word document called “NY Negative Statements,” had separate sections for a half-dozen politicians and officials who had gone from thorns in the company’s side to formidable opponents of a deal that now looked to be in jeopardy.
The document recorded how opponents mocked the helipad Amazon planned to build, pushed the Twitter hashtag #scamazon, and brought up the company’s work for the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a sore spot among some Amazon employees. It was an eight-page, bullet-pointed, Calibri font testimony to Amazon’s sensitivities.
The WSJ notes that Amazon kept close records of comments made a number of individuals, from Senators to councilmen:
One of the first entries in Amazon’s burn book went to state Sen. Mike Gianaris, another Democrat whose district included the planned campus. He and Mr. Van Bramer had signed a letter in 2017 expressing general support for the project, but a year on were having concerns.
The tax subsidies—up to $3 billion in total from the city and state—struck them as excessive. Some residents in their districts worried the campus would lead to rising rents and labor leaders were concerned about the company’s union stances. Also worrying the two men, the districts they represented were shifting leftward, and wooing a giant company could hurt them with progressive groups.
The WSJ notes that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) attempted to fix issues between Amazon and labor leaders but ultimately, the deal fell through:
Mr. Cuomo kept calling contacts at the company after the Valentine’s Day breakup. He suggested alternative sites in the city and asked whether Amazon’s separate expansion in west Midtown, which will eventually bring 5,000 jobs, could somehow be rebranded as a second headquarters, according to people familiar with the conversations. A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said he called the company but didn’t suggest alternative sites.
He wasn’t in the burn book, but it didn’t make any difference.
Read the full article in the Wall Street Journal here.