Inside the Clash Between Powerful Business Leaders and N.Y.C.’s Mayor

With conditions decaying in New York City neighborhoods and business districts, a powerful corporate executive traveled to Gracie Mansion in July to meet with Mayor Bill de Blasio. He briefed the mayor on a plan — prepared by 14 consulting firms — for how City Hall could work with business leaders to overcome the pandemic downturn.

Mr. de Blasio appeared supportive. The executive, Steven R. Swartz, head of the Hearst media conglomerate, left feeling hopeful, as he later told others from…

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