A Long Island City landlord who spearheaded a protest last week slamming Amazon for suddenly abandoning its plans for a Queens headquarters paid some of the supposedly outraged protestors to be there, Patch reports.
Sammy Musovic, who says he spent $1 million renovating buildings in anticipation of Amazon’s plans, rallied with nearly a dozen men in front of the e-commerce giant’s brick-and-mortar Midtown book store on February 15. Protestors waved signs printed with “Amazon Left Us!” and “Boycott Amazon!” but two of those participants told Patch that they had responded to a now-deleted Craigslist post recruiting protestors for $30 an hour.
One of the men recorded protestors receiving cash payments after the demonstration. A 17-second clip shows a man in a suit passing out cash to four men as he says, “Thank you very much, thank you all for coming,” video obtained by Patch shows.
Asked about the Craigslist post and payments, Musovic denied any knowledge. “I don’t know anything about that,” he told the online publication. “We were just trying to get Amazon back on the table.” A representative for Musovic’s rally also said he had no knowledge of a Craigslist ad looking to hire protestors.
Musovic completely overhauled the four-bedroom apartments he owns near Broadway in Long Island City, tricking them out with new kitchens, floors, and updated amenities in hopes he could significantly markup the rent. But Amazon dramatically pulled out of an agreement with the city and state to bring half of its North American headquarters to Queens on February 14—taking all of its commitments with it—and foiled Musovic’s plans.
The landlord has since called for a boycott for Amazon.