Amazon.com was chased out of New York by politicians and media coverage that inaccurately described the government incentives underlying the deal, according to a city official who played a key role in forging the agreement that fell apart last week.
James Patchett, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., made clear that he was still smarting from the deal’s collapse while speaking to business executives Thursday at a Crain’s Magazine breakfast forum.
He laughingly agreed with an interviewer’s observation that his speaking invitation “was supposed to have been a coronation but instead was more like a coronary.” Yet, he said the deal showed New York’s value to potential employers, with its skilled workforce that includes 2.3 million college graduates.
“I remain incredibly proud of the work we all did together,” Mr. Patchett said.
The deal fell apart, Mr. Patchett said, because Amazon wasn’t prepared to respond to questions about how it would operate in the city.
In November, Amazon chose Long Island City, just across the East River from Manhattan, and Arlington, Va., over 200 other competing locations for two satellite headquarters in an expansion to its home in Seattle. The deal, reached after a year’s search, held out the promise of 25,000 to 40,000 new jobs for New York, and in return the city and state offered as much as $3 billion in tax breaks and grants.
“Anyone familiar with the facts knows there was no $3 billion,” Mr. Patchett said. That number, he said, was a projection of how much local tax money the company might not have to pay, plus more than $1 billion in discretionary state grants, if it fulfilled its promise to create 25,000 jobs over 10 years. “The dialogue was poisoned by this misinformation,” he added.
McCabe downplays 25th Amendment talk
Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday sought to further downplay the discussion in which he says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein broached using the 25th Amendment to oust President Donald Trump from office, asserting that Mr. Rosenstein was merely “thinking off the top of his head.”
“This was a mention in a conversation, and Rod mentioned it in a way thinking about who might support such an effort,” Mr. McCabe said during a discussion with more than a dozen journalists who cover law enforcement, including one from The Washington Post. “I at no time got the impression that he’d actually sought support, or talked to those people about it, or asked people, you know, ‘would you support this?‘ or ‘would you not.‘ “
“It was simply Rod thinking off the top of his head, this is a thing that could be done, are there people that would want to do that,” Mr. McCabe added.
Thursday’s discussion was part of Mr. McCabe’s media tour to promote his book, “The Threat,” which details Mr. McCabe’s career in law enforcement and how he came to believe Mr. Trump was a danger to American democracy. The book and Mr. McCabe’s interviews about it have riled the president, who has called Mr. McCabe a liar but seized on some of his revelations to accuse federal law enforcement of plotting a coup.
On Wednesday, for example, Mr. Trump called Mr. McCabe “a poor man’s J. Edgar Hoover,” the FBI’s controversial first director who famously collected damaging information on prominent political figures. Mr. McCabe, Mr. Trump said, “made a fool out of himself over the last couple of days.”
Trump administration confirms it has ended fuel-economy talks with California
Already-faltering negotiations between the Trump administration and California aimed at resolving a dispute over fuel-economy standards have broken down completely, the White House said Thursday.
“The Trump administration has decided to discontinue discussions” with the California Air Resources Board about the Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to scale back the standards, the White House said in a statement.
The board had been meeting sporadically with officials from the White House, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in hopes of persuading them not to roll back the Obama-era regulations.
Both sides blamed the other for the breakdown in talks.
“Despite the administration’s best efforts to reach a common-sense solution, it is time to acknowledge that CARB has failed to put forward a productive alternative,” the White House statement said. “Accordingly, the administration is moving forward to finalize a rule later this year with the goal of promoting safer, cleaner, and more affordable vehicles.”
California officials said the Trump administration’s efforts to reach a compromise were less than genuine.
The end of the negotiations increases the likelihood that both sides will spend years fighting in the courts over car pollution standards.
Also in the nation …
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that he was ruling out running for Senate in Kansas in 2020 — at least as long as he is still the top diplomat. … Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it was investigating how it tested the emissions and fuel efficiency of its vehicles after employees reported possible flaws with the company’s computer models. … Under new guidelines to be released this week by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the targeting of people based on their hair or hairstyle, at work, school or in public spaces, will now be considered racial discrimination.