How the Amazon deal collapsed: Tech giant stumbles in New York’s raucous political arena


New York state Sen. Michael Gianaris, center, and union officials join anti-Amazon protesters on the steps of City Hall before a New York City Council finance committee hearing on Amazon’s headquarters last month. /Hiroko Masuike / The New York Times


The company’s retreat capped several days of intense behind-the-scenes maneuvering between government officials and Amazon executives. Insiders say the company thought it could get the controversial package of incentives and benefits approved, but feared it would face a charged climate of heightened scrutiny for years to come.


By J. David Goodman and Karen Weise | The New York Times

senior executive from Amazon, one of the world’s biggest companies, led by the world’s richest person, found himself last weekend in a showdown with a suburban state senator.

The executive, Brian Huseman, who is based in Washington, D.C., was trying to find out whether the New York state senator, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, would exert more control over an obscure state board that had the authority to block Amazon’s ambitious plans to expand in New York City.

It was the second phone call in two days between Huseman and Stewart-Cousins, who had just risen to power as Democratic majority leader.

And once again, Stewart-Cousins told Huseman that state lawmakers would use their power to assess the deal.

“We just need to move on,” Stewart-Cousins said, she recalled in an interview.

It was not the response that Amazon wanted.


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February 2019