Mayor Bill de Blasio put forth a new theory during a national TV appearance on Friday about why Amazon scuttled its plans to build an HQ2 campus in Long Island City due to the “lack of collaborative relationships with state and local officials.”
Since the e-commerce giant formally pulled out of its deal on Feb. 14, there have been fingers pointed in all directions assessing blame for the loss of 25,000 jobs and $27 billion in future tax revenue.
Friday morning, the Mayor appeared to put the onus on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“I think we can all say unusual things were happening within the Amazon family at that moment in time, and that was said politely,” de Blasio remarked. “There was clearly some unusual factors.”
Fill-in host Willie Geist sought clarification saying, “Mr. Mayor, you floated something out that we’ve got to pin you down on, you believe Jeff Bezos’ affair somehow —”
“No, I didn’t say that,” de Blasio said.”I said it was an unusual environment meaning there are a lot of cross pressures. There was a lot of things going on.”
“Like what?” Geist asked.
“I, again, you’re going to figure out yourself,” de Blasio said.
Other guests peppered the mayor for answers.
“The facts are a decision was made very arbitrarily,” de Blasio said. “We had an agreement. The agreement was moving forward and suddenly it wasn’t. That’s all I’m saying.”
Bezos and his wife MacKenzie announced they were separating on Jan. 9 and the following day the National Enquirer ran an expose exposing Bezos’ affair with news anchor Lauren Sanchez, though the mayor never mentioned either event during his appearance.
QNS has reached out to City Hall for further clarification and is awaiting a response. Amazon declined to comment.
In Long Island City, where the a group of local business people have been working to get Amazon to reconsider its decision and “bring the jobs back,” Modern Spaces co-founder and CEO Eric Benaim was blasé about de Blasio’s comments.
“No, I don’t think this blows anything out of the water,” Benaim said as his online petition neared 7,000 signatures. “That was out there in the headlines already. It’s the guy’s personal life and it’s got nothing to do with what has happened here. Our efforts continue.”
The day before Amazon announced it was bolting the borough on Valentine’s Day, Benaim appealed to more than 10,000 past and present clients, asking them to get engaged and let the e-commerce giant know it was welcomed in western Queens. Benaim’s e-mail blast included this warning.
“We cannot send a message that NYC doesn’t welcome companies, because if Amazon does leave, that is exactly what we are doing; sending a message that NYC is closed for business, and that companies are not welcome here,” Benaim wrote ominously.
This week, billionaire hedge fund owner Ken Griffin disclosed he is losing interest in moving his company Citadel from Chicago to New York City due to the political climate Amazon executives faced.
“Amazon opting out of New York is heartbreaking,” Griffin told Bloomberg Television. “The current climate in New York has dramatically reduced our interest in moving our headquarters here.”