Uber is being accused of using “deceptive” tactics to fight its regulatory battles in the Big Apple.
The ride-hailing giant — scrambling to thwart a potential cap on the lucrative fees that its Uber Eats food-delivery service charges restaurants — has tapped a team of political lobbyists who critics say have been posing as reps for restaurants instead of Uber, The Post has learned.
At issue is a proposal by the New York State Liquor Authority to cap food-delivery fees at 10 percent of the profits from any restaurant that holds a liquor license. The proposed rule could affect as many as half of eateries citywide, according to government figures.
The SLA’s proposal is “another layer of regulation that could take away an entire revenue stream that restaurant owners depend on — revenue they generate from food delivery service,” said a letter earlier this month to one of the city’s community boards that was signed by Kicy Motley.
The letter — which didn’t mention that the rules could also slam Uber Eats — only gave Motley’s personal e-mail address and phone number as contact information. It failed to disclose that she’s a registered state lobbyist recently hired by Uber.
The lobbyist, an ex-aide of Mayor Bill de Blasio whose full name is Kwamina Kicy Motley, was forced to apologize in 2013 for a foul-mouthed Twitter rant against the NYPD. Reached by The Post, she declined to comment.
Members of at least three Manhattan community boards got Motley’s letter. Meanwhile, a source said Albany lawmakers got an identical letter that was instead signed by a K.C. Boyle of The WIN Company, a political messaging firm started by former de Blasio campaign manager Bill Hyers.
Boyle also didn’t disclose in his letter that WIN Co. lobbying arm Court Street Strategies — which according to public records hired Motley as a contractor Aug. 29 — has been hired by Uber.
“The letter is deceptively written so as to create the impression that they are acting on behalf of restaurants,” Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, wrote in a draft letter to Albany lawmakers obtained by The Post. “They are NOT!”
Boyle, who asked a Post reporter to refer to him in print as Kevin “for legal reasons,” is also a partner at Court Street, but dismissed questions about the lack of disclosure. Neither WIN nor Court Street discloses its affiliation on its respective Web site.
“We own several companies,” Boyle told The Post.
Asked who “we” was, he responded that “it doesn’t matter.”
In a statement to The Post, Uber said, “Albany shouldn’t force restaurants to choose between a liquor license or delivery revenue.”
Uber declined to comment further.
“Caps on margins on delivery — that’s really a big threat, especially because Uber Eats is their highest growth area at the moment,” said Bradley Tusk, an Uber shareholder who successfully lobbied for Uber to operate in New York City.
Revenue from Uber Eats has nearly quintupled during the last two years, to $595 million, in the quarter ending June 30, up from $120 million during the same period in 2017, according to regulatory filings.
Motley was exposed in 2014 for tweets saying, “F–k. The. Police,” and for sympathizing with ex-LAPD cop Chris Dorner, who went on a wild shooting spree across Southern California after claiming he was fired because of racism.
She later apologized.
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