ENY City Council Candidate Meets Secretly about Amazon

An Amazon billboard along Linden Blvd. in East New York advertises for jobs. The online retailer recently leased space in the neighborhood. Photo By Ariama C. Long.

Twenty-three Community Board 5 members, including City Council Candidate Wilfredo Florentino, on Wednesday, held a secret meeting in preparation for a closed-door meeting with Amazon officials later this month to discuss the company’s plan to use two large East New York warehouses as distribution centers, EastNewYork.Com reported today.

Last November Amazon signed a lease with two new large warehouses in the district. The first will be at 2300 Linden Blvd, while the second will be a 211,000 sq ft facility at 12555 Flatlands Ave.

East New York News obtained the official email that was sent from Community Board 5 to its board members. In the email, the Assistant District Manager, Keron Alleyne highlighted in yellow that the meeting was “for Board Members only” and that the meeting required “a registration.”

Community Board 5 Chairman Andre Mitchell told East New York News that Amazon wanted to meet with the district manager and himself digitally, but he opposed that idea. Mitchell said he told Amazon officials that they had to meet with community board members at a minimum, but did not address why the meeting was not open to the public.

Mitchell told the digital news site that the community board will publish a draft of the proposals and the feedback that came out of the meeting and that he hopes to do so before February 18, when CB 5 is again slated to meet with Amazon.

Florentino, who is locked in a tight race for the City Council District 42 race against Charles Barron and Nikki Lucas, recently released his platform based on the three key issues of Equity, Justice, and Transparency.

“The Board is definitely on the same page as it relates to ensuring Amazon is a responsible partner,” Florentino told the publication. “I think that all meetings should be public and transparent.” 

Sources told the outlet Florentino did not bring this point to the attention of the Board Chair and he did not inform community members of the secret meeting.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the meeting with Amazon officials already took place.