Amazon may have left New York’s governor high and dry weeks ago, but Andrew “Amazon” Cuomo appears no closer to letting it go.
The New York Times reported Thursday that Cuomo “is furiously working” to sweet talk the company back into a deal with New York for its HQ2 headquarters after Amazon dipped earlier this month, blaming poor reception from local politicians and community leaders who opposed the Queens project.
Citing two sources familiar with the matter, the Times reported that Cuomo, who’s been vocal about his disappointment with the failed deal, has been in ongoing talks with Amazon’s top brass about the political process of sealing the deal:
The governor has had multiple phone conversations with Amazon executives, including Mr. Bezos, over the past two weeks, according to two people with knowledge of the efforts. In those calls, Mr. Cuomo said he would navigate the company through the byzantine governmental process.
Mr. Cuomo did not offer a new location but rather guarantees of support for the project, one person said. Amazon executives gave no sense that it would reconsider.
In addition to whatever pleas are almost certainly being made to woo back a company that previously said it was “disappointed to have reached this conclusion” at the time Amazon announced it was pulling out, an open letter to Bezos signed by politicians, businesses, and groups who support the deal is set to run in the Times on Friday, the paper said.
That letter, which can be read in full here, curiously states that Mayor Bill de Blasio—who publicly lambasted Amazon in the wake of the failed deal—would “work together with the governor to manage the community development process, including the workforce development and infrastructure investments that are necessary to ensure that the Amazon campus will be a tremendous benefit to residents and small businesses in the surrounding communities.” It also appeared to claim that opposition to the deal was just part of New York’s “charm”:
We know the public debate that followed the announcement of the Long Island City project was rough and not very welcoming. Opinions are strong in New York—sometimes strident. We consider it part of the New York charm! But when we commit to a project as important as this, we figure out how to get it done in a way that works for everyone.
New Yorkers, I’m sure, will be thrilled to learn that their sincere opposition to the deal—which presents a whole host of potential impacts to the Queens community and which stands to benefit Amazon greatly with luxurious subsidies critics say amount to corporate handouts—is being characterized as some kind of personality quirk.
We’ve reached out to Amazon about the report and will update if we hear back. In the meantime, Amazon Cuomo appears fully prepared to blare his boombox outside Bezos’ window for as long as it takes to win him back. At the very least, the name change should be back on the table.