New York City Council Members Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside), Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) and Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn) today anounced they will co-sponsor and introduce legislation that would prevent city officials from signing non-disclosure agreements (NDA)) with corporations doing business with the city.
The proposed legislation comes on the heals of Mayor Bill de BLasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing a NDA with Amazon regarding the terms of the deal to brings Amazon second headquarters (HQ2) to Long Island City. While the new legislation will not affect that deal, if passed, it will affect other such deals with large companies coming to the city and wanting a NDA.
Under the Amazon deal, the city and state will give mega online retailer up to $3 billion in subsidies and benefits, and in return the company is expected to bring 25,000 high paying jobs to the city.
“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 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.”
Williams, who is running for public advocate, said it’s outrageous that the Amazon deal was done in total secrecy by the governor and mayor.
“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 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,” he added.
Lander, who is eyeing the city comptroller seat in 2021, said like so many New Yorkers, the three lawmakers are outraged that the Amazon deal was done behind closed doors, with zero community buy in.
“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,” he said.
A Williams’ spokesperson could not provide the exact language of the bill at post time as it remains in the drfat stage and still needs vetting from the legal council’s legal team.
However, the council members said they plan to fast track the measure and to introduce it before the council as expeditiously as possible.