Amazon LIC critic named to key board that can veto project

Amazon LIC critic named to key board that can veto project

When Amazon announced plans for a campus in Long Island City, local opposition quickly followed.

Gianaris has been appointed to the Public Authorities Control Board, a little-known but powerful body that reviews economic development deals like the one reached with Amazon.

The HQ2 deal needs approval from the New York State Public Authorities Control Board, which has the final say over the "approval of the financing and construction of any project proposed by state public benefit corporations", according to state law.

"Deputy Majority Leader Gianaris will add a helpful voice to the Public Authorities Control Board", Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said.

Gianaris said he couldn't imagine any changes to the Amazon agreement that would sway his view and win his support.

"The deal as presented is so historically bad it can't form the basis of a reasonable negotiation, and the typical horse-trading that occurs to obtain community approval is not going to work here", Gianaris said in an interview. In 2005, the board rejected a $2.2 billion plan spearheaded by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg for a redevelopment that would have included a stadium on Manhattan's West Side to be used by the New York Jets and, possibly, for the 2012 Olympic Games.

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"We believe this project will be a positive economic impact for the city and the state", he said. In remarks last week, Brian Huseman, Amazon's vice president for public policy, said the company had been "invited to come to NY, and we want to invest in a community that wants us".

The retail giant announced the New York City location previous year along with a site in the Washington, D.C., for its expansion, known as HQ2.

Gianaris's appointment still has to be approved by Governor Andrew Cuomo, whose communications director released a furious statement, claiming that "the Senate Democrats oppose the 25,000 to 40,000 new technology jobs" Amazon is promising to create, and all but demanding them to fall in line.

Rather than outright refusing to seat Gianaris, the gov is now talking about somehow end-running the PACB to get the deal approved by some other entity.

It's unclear whether he'll sign off on the appointment, the report said.

David Friedfel, the director of state studies at the Citizens Budget Commission, said that even if Cuomo and Amazon can avoid the PACB, portions of the plan will have to pass through the state legislature. It's Jeff Bezos, one of the richest people, why are we giving him a break, he should be paying more than anybody else, I'm against it. Governmentally, on the facts, put aside the symbolism. "And it would be a dramatic blow to, not just the economy, but also the reputation" of NY. The former mayor is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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