July 23, 2017

Lentol’s pro-Airbnb bill cribs paragraphs from Airbnb memo

Stock Photo - Waving flag with Airbnb logo. Editorial 3D rendering
Copyright: moovstock / 123RF Stock Photo

It’s not unusual for a special interest group to have influence over state legislation.

It’s less common for entire paragraphs in a bill, however, to be taken directly from an interest group’s memo in support of a cause.

That’s what happened in the case of a new bill introduced by Brooklyn Assemblyman Joe Lentol. The bill is backed by Airbnb, the prominent home-rental company, which Lentol’s office acknowledges played a role in drafting and crafting it. NYS Assemblyman Joseph Lentol speaks with reporters outside the Assembly Chambers Tuesday Jan. 27, 2015. (John Carl D’Annibale / Times Union) A 2016 memo by Airbnb pushing its cause contained 95 words that have only been slightly altered in a 96-word section of the “justification memo” that’s part of Lentol’s new bill.

There are also three succeeding paragraphs in Lentol’s “justification memo” that appear to be original writing.

Cathy Peake, chief of staff for Lentol, said that Airbnb had played a role in what sections of the bill should be amended, as well as the wording.

Lentol’s staff was responsible for the justification memo.“Our staff used some of their language and some of our own,” she said. “The wording may seem new, but [the overlapping wording in the […]

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