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A CNBC guest was caught on air calling Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks’ explanation of why a deal with Amazon to move a headquarters to New York City fell through a “crock of s—.”

“Squawk Box” co-host Becky Quick appeared to place some responsibility on Meeks during Wednesday’s program, saying a deal was on the table, but the New York congressman wanted to renegotiate it.

“What I wanted to do was to make sure when we talked about inclusion,” Meeks said. “I wanted to make sure that minorities and women, etc., would be included in the deal.”

The lawmaker said that he was for the deal overall, but “a few people made a lot of noise and (Amazon) pulled away from the deal as a result of that.”

Protests against Amazon opening its headquarters — which would have created 25,000 permanent jobs and 11,000 construction jobs — were led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, USA Today reported.

The freshman Democratic legislator balked at the $3 billion in tax incentives and subsidies promised by the state, saying the money could be better spent on things like hiring more teachers and infrastructure projects.

Ocasio-Cortez seemingly did not understand the tax breaks did not mean the state was literally writing a check to Amazon but merely lowering the company’s initial tax burden to the government to encourage the move.

New York Democratic Mayor Bill De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo corrected Ocasio-Cortez saying the $2.8 billion in tax breaks and incentives would have resulted in $27 billion in tax revenue, due to the new jobs and business activity, Fox News reported.

While Meeks sought to put the blame on others, “Squawk Box” guest host Sam Zell — a billionaire business investor — held the congressman partly to blame for Amazon’s decision, saying the company thought it had a deal, but Meeks and others were making new demands.

“I think this deal with Amazon is going to go down in history as one of the great mistakes that politicians made in their own interests and disregarded the interests of the state of New York,” Zell said.

“From Amazon’s point of view, there was never an end to the negotiations. They thought they had a deal,” he added. “I do deals for a living. Certainty is the most important issue in any transaction. That’s what builds confidence.”

Meeks again said he was for Amazon coming to New York and he is working to get the deal back on the table.

“I do believe we have to be inclusive in any deals though,” Meeks said.

Zell responded, “Same here.”


As CNBC co-host Melissa Lee was transitioning to commercial, Zell, whose microphone was still apparently on, could be heard saying, “What a crock of s—,” apparently in response to Meeks’ comments.

Lee joked about the hot mic, proclaiming, “‘Squawk Box,’ where anything can happen.”

Later in the day, Meeks tweeted, “Sam Zell should explain what about minority inclusion in economic development is a ‘crock of s—‘, and why city’s (sic) like NY and Chicago shouldn’t bake those requirements into tax incentives.”

“This is what women and people of color deal with in the corporate boardrooms daily @CNBC.”

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  1. Grace Joy

    March 9, 2019 at 8:13 am

    I really really really hope Amazon goes elsewhere . . .

  2. RY

    March 9, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Every single one of those jobs should go to the best qualified applicants. Setting aside jobs for special interest groups is a crock. I could be wrong, but I do not think that Jeff Bezos gives two hoots in hell what the skin tint of his employees happens to be, so long as they do their jobs to the best of their ability and those abilities happen to be sufficient to make Mr. Bezos a buck or two. Is Rep. Meeks actually an intellectual racist? Does he really believe that the minority members of Brooklyn and surrounds aren’t as capable of winning and keeping those jobs. Anyone insisting on quotas for a group, pretty clearly thinks that the “group” is incapable of competing… Did Rep. Meeks, or anyone else inferring racism (their own, or the other party’s) look to seek what Amazon’s ethnic mix is in Seattle? Does it deviate substantially from the general population? Again, I do not know, but I have seen no dialog that addresses this, so it’s probably close to being “expected” and the “minority issue” is likely just another reach for Rep. Meeks to enhance his reputation as the champion of down-trodden minorities, when there was no threat to minorities in the first place. Typical politician’s grab!

  3. Sam

    March 9, 2019 at 10:36 am



  4. Sam

    March 9, 2019 at 10:38 am

    People…whether you realize it or not…Democrats are tearing this world apart.

    God bless America.

    Save our country from Democrats and their hateful plans to destroy us all.

    • ca

      March 9, 2019 at 4:55 pm

      well said sam… it’s the damn truth. sadly, the useless idiot dems voters are easily led and confused by the godless double speak of their evil masters who have replaced their god…. they don’t seem to know it or care…. God Bless America

  5. Linda

    March 9, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Mr. Zell is neither indebted to nor controlled by the Democratic party. Saying what the populace is thinking while shaking our heads. This man deserves his own fan club.


    March 9, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    KUDOS for speaking the truth….out loud !

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