'I'd choose mass transit over helipads any day': Key Amazon opponent on New York's city council speaks out on HQ2 cancellation

Getty/Drew AngererNew York City Council speaker Corey Johnson was a vocal opponent of the Amazon HQ2 deal.
  • New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson has been a vocal critic of Amazon‘s deal to come to New York from the start.
  • After Amazon announced it is pulling out of the deal to bring its HQ2 project to New York, Johnson put out a statement celebrating the win.
  • In December, Corey Johnson correctly predicted that the HQ2 project was not “a done deal,” but it didn’t end quite like he thought it would.

New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson was not a fan of HQ2 from the start.

In a series of heated city council hearings, he blasted the company for its acceptance of public funds and circumvention of the typical public approvals process.

Now, as Amazon has pulled the plug on the process to build a headquarters in New York, Johnson has something of a win under his belt.

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“I look forward to working with companies that understand that if you’re willing to engage with New Yorkers and work through challenging issues, New York City is the world’s best place to do business,” Johnson said in a statement after Amazon dropped the news bombshell. “I hope this is the start of a conversation about vulture capitalism and where our tax dollars are best spent. I know I’d choose mass transit over helipads any day.”

Read more:
‘Do you realise how out of touch that seems?’: NYC lawmakers rail against Amazon for HQ2 helipad demand in heated hearing

In an interview with Business Insider in December, Johnson said the Amazon project was not a “done deal” and vowed his opposition.

“I don’t think anyone should assume that this is a fait accompli,” Johnson said at the time. “This is the beginning of a process where the public and the City Council and other elected officials are going to continue to seek answers and understand whether or not this is a good deal for New York City, or if we got played.”

At the time, Johnson said the anti-Amazon movement’s best shot at stopping the deal was through the Public Authorities Control Board, which the deal needed approval from. New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been highly critical of the Amazon deal, was just nominated to the board, and his “no” vote could have scuttled the entire project.

As it turns out, HQ2 never got that far.

“I think Amazon themselves made a tremendous mistake, whoever was advising them, which is coming to this city,” Johnson said in December. “It’s going to be an issue for them.”

Turns out Johnson was correct.

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