Amazon brass kept a “burn book” to memorialize unkind comments made
by those who opposed the online retail giant’s headquarters move to New
York before pulling the plug on the project, it was revealed Wednesday.
The Microsoft Word document called “NY Negative Statements” was
filled with criticism from officials and neighbors, who said the move to
Queens would send real estate prices soaring — and that it wasn’t worth
the thousands of new jobs Amazon promised.
The book had a specific section for politicians who opposed the
project, which by late January appeared to be in jeopardy despite Mayor
Bill de Blasio’s and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s support, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department
Store Union, had his own chapter in the document that included him
dissing Amazon’s founder while addressing shivering union members in
late January: “It’s a cold day in New York, but not as cold as Jeff
Bezos ’ heart.”
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, whose district included Amazon’s
new campus, complained that his anti-Amazon campaign appeared to be
“We were punching, and no one was punching back,” Van Bramer told The Journal.
But Amazon was taking notes.
One of the first entries in the book came from state Sen. Mike
Gianaris, a Democrat like Van Bramer whose district also included the
He and Van Bramer had signed a letter in 2017 supporting the project
but a year later were having second thoughts about the fat tax breaks.
“We were not elected to serve as Amazon drones,” Gianaris wrote in a joint statement sent with Van Bramer.
Gianaris had the longest section, with 25 entries.