Following the announcement of New York City’s selection for Amazon HQ2, council members move forward with legislation to bring transparency to business deals. On November 30, 2018, Council Members Jumaane D. Williams, Brad Lander, and Jimmy Van Bramer announced their plan to introduce legislation aimed at preventing City officials from signing non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, with corporations doing business with the City. The legislation is a response to deals similar to the Amazon HQ2 where Amazon required an NDA from Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio to keep the bid for New York City to house Amazon’s second headquarters quiet. Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo announced on November 13, 2018 that Amazon had selected Long Island City, Queens for one of its two new corporate headquarters. The Council Members will co-sponsor and introduce the bill as expeditiously as possible.
In a Facebook video, Council Member Williams stated, “We’re not giving up the fight here with respect to HQ2 but this piece of legislation is [going to] go a long way.”
“It’s outrageous that the Amazon deal was done in total secrecy by the Governor and Mayor– and as we continue to fight this deal– I’m proud to partner with Council Members Lander and Van Bramer on a bill that will help prevent back-room deals like this from happening in the future,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. “Our government should be taking steps to act as a check on rampant corporate expansion, to ensure that any new development is designed with the greatest possible benefit to New Yorkers in need and to prevent any unintended consequences. The Governor and Mayor failed us, but we won’t stop fighting until this deal is stopped.”
“Like so many New Yorkers, we’re outraged that the Amazon deal was done behind closed doors, with zero community buy in,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “It was unacceptable for the mayor and governor to yield to Amazon’s demands and throw away the city’s land use process, but with this bill, that type of backroom deal will no longer be an option.”
“The Council must do all that it can to prevent the secretive process that led to the bad Amazon deal from ever happening again,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer. “Transparency should be the minimum requirement when we’re talking about shelving out billions in taxpayer money. We’re not giving up the fight against Amazon’s new headquarters, but this piece of legislation will serve as an essential tool to ensuring future deals go through a democratic, transparent process. I’m proud to join Council Members Lander and Williams on this important effort.”