Amazon’s Burn Book: “It’s a Cold Day in New York, But Not As Cold As Jeff Bezos’ Heart”

From a Wall Street Journal story, “The Missing Piece of Amazon’s New York Debacle: the Burn Book,” by Jimmy Vielkind and Ann Katie Holmes:

When Amazon scrubbed plans to build a second headquarters in New York City earlier this year, the reason appeared rooted in a debate about unions, tax subsidies and housing costs.

Then there was the burn book.

In a private dossier kept at the time, whose existence has gone previously unreported, Amazon executives cataloged in minute detail the insults they saw coming from New York politicians and labor leaders, according to a copy viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

By late January, Amazon executives had been pummeled at two public hearings. The burn book, which was kept in a Microsoft Word document called “NY Negative Statements,” had separate sections for a half-dozen politicians and officials who had gone from thorns in the company’s side to formidable opponents of a deal that now looked to be in jeopardy. . . .

The burn book is one indication of just how ill-suited Amazon and New York were to each other, a buttoned-up corporation that didn’t talk publicly about its unhappiness up against a raucous political circus that had no problem running its mouth. This account is based on interviews with multiple people who were part of the deal. . . .

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, had his own chapter in Amazon’s dossier. Among the notations was a speech to a shivering crowd of union members in late January: “It’s a cold day in New York,” he had said, “but not as cold as Jeff Bezos ’ heart.”

Speak Your Mind