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LIC Restaurateur Seemingly Threatens City Councilman Over Dead Amazon Deal

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Josh Bowen of John Brown Smokehouse is under fire for texts that Jimmy Van Bramer says he sent him

After Local Opposition, Amazon Cancels Plans For Major Campus In New York Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A Long Island City restaurateur anguished over the lost Amazon deal has sent seemingly threatening text messages to a city councilman who opposed the tech giant’s Queens headquarters.

Jimmy Van Bramer, deputy leader of the city council, tweeted text messages that John Brown Smokehouse owner Josh Bowen sent him.

“You will call John Schoettler and apologize. You can be at the back of the parade or in front of the firing squad,” the text reads. “Call now and I can stop the growing forces that will end councilman VanJobkillers career ... Make the fucking call.”

The text is in full below, which Van Bramer called “disgusting” on Twitter and confirmed that he reported Bowen to the New York Police Department. Bowen has not returned Eater’s request for comment, but denied threatening Van Brumer today on Fox News.

“I did not threaten him,” Bowen said on-air after Fox News host Neil Cavuto read back the texts to him, suggesting that it was rather the councilman who was going after him.

The restaurateur is now getting dragged on Twitter, with people mocking his alleged threats. Bowen traveled to Seattle this weekend as a part of a growing effort to woo Amazon back to Queens. He met with Amazon’s vice president of real estate John Schoettler there, the man referenced in the text, who Bowen said didn’t close the door on Amazon coming back to Long Island City by saying “never say never.”

A petition is now being circulated to appeal to the tech company, though New York governor Andrew Cuomo said there is “no indication” Amazon will return to the borough.

Ryan Sutton contributed additional reporting to this story.

John Brown Smokehouse

10-43 44th Drive, Queens, NY 11101 (347) 617-1120 Visit Website