The Long Island City restaurant owner who flew to Seattle Monday to try and rescue the Amazon HQ2 deal, may have gone too far in his campaign against the elected leaders he blames for chasing the e-commerce giant out of town.
John Brown Smokehouse owner Josh Bowen met for two hours with John Schoettler, the company’s vice president for real estate and facilities, saying “someone had to represent Queens” after Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and state Senator Michael Gianaris had “abdicated their duties” for opposing the Amazon deal for political reasons.
“If Mike and Jimmy had just talked to these guys, it would have been a whole different story,” Bowen said after he returned from his mission to Seattle.
Bowen created a Twitter page called @JimmyVanJobKiller in recent weeks as well as a website calling for Van Bramer’s resignation, but he may have gone a text too far when he sent this message to his councilman.
“As much as it grosses me out to extend this offer, I do it for my borough. You will call John Schoettler and apologize. You can be at the back of the parade or in front of a firing squad. If they come back, y’all may get elected dog catcher,” Bowen wrote. “If they don’t, you’re in the history books. Call now and I can stop the growing forces that will end VanJobkillers career.”
Bowen wasn’t finished with his text. He then warned the councilman he would be blamed for the loss of Amazon during an appearance on the Fox News Channel.
“I will be on Neal Cavuto tonight. I can leave you out of it and focus on Amazon coming back or I can add another sound bite on to the funeral pyre of Jimmy’s career. Make the f—–g call. And let me know by 4. You were used by activists. I’m trying to keep you, and western queens, from the history books.”
Van Bramer was not amused posting a screen shot of Bowen’s text on Twitter calling it a threat. A threat that has been reported to the NYPD.
“Josh Bowen, who recently went to Seattle to meet with Amazon sent this text today,” Van Bramer posted on Twitter. Demanding an elected official make a call to Amazon by a certain time — or else. This is disgusting. Did others get this too? I don’t respond to threats.”
A Van Bramer spokesman said there would be no further comment other than the tweet for the time being.
Bowen had been seen on local newscasts berating Van Bramer as he held news conference near his 44th Drive restaurant when Amazon announced it was bolting the borough of Feb. 14. He blamed Van Bramer and Gianaris for the loss of 25,000 jobs and the $28 billion in new tax revenues the campus would generate for the city and state.
Meanwhile, Bowen, a St. Louis native known for his dry wit, laughed off any controversy on March 1.
“That’s just Jimmy playing the victim. Look, all I was trying to do was to get him to call the man and get Amazon back here,” Bowen said. “The imagery might be dark but there were no threats intended there. I’m just trying to do the right thing for the neighborhood and the right thing for Queens. That’s it.”
Bowen ended the phone interview abruptly. He had an interview to do.