The Real Deal New York

Queens pol raked in real estate cash despite slamming REBNY

State Senator Tony Avella took two donations of $10K each from LLCs sharing address with Glenwood Management

October 09, 2014 10:55AM

Tony Avella and Steven Spinola

Queens state Senator Tony Avella, despite denouncing the Real Estate Board of New York’s $8 million in contributions to New York City Council candidates, reportedly raked in tens of thousands of dollars in his own donations from the industry’s most deep-pocketed donors.

According to campaign finance records cited by Crain’s, Avella took two donations of $10,000 each from limited liability companies sharing a Long Island address with Glenwood Management. The developer gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Jobs for New York in 2013, REBNY’s political spending arm that operates separately from candidates.

While corporations are limited to donations of up to $5,000, LLCs controlled by the same individuals running them can give up to $150,000 through the so-called LLC loophole, which Avella has denounced.

“Like every Democrat who supports campaign finance reform, my campaign complied with the current law,” Contributions have absolutely no impact on legislation — period,” Avella said in a statement to Crain’s.

Other pols, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, have accepted donations from LLCs while publicly speaking about looking to close the loophole. A year ago, Avella lambasted REBNY’s City Council race spending, focusing particularly on funds to support Queens candidate Paul Vallone.

REBNY, Avella said at a press conference at the time, was “trying to use its money and influence to ry and control this council district.” [Crain’s]Julie Strickland

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    We only know Senator Avella as ordinary Queens residents and he rocks and his office is really nice and invites you to walk in and even helped my unfancy looking immigrant mother look up legal cases that really helped her when her neighbor was strongarming her and then later it became useful again when our own lawyer wasn’t really helping us over another situation of encroachment.

    He is very genuine and we are not white. He helped a senior citizen center at an armory that asks for no funding and pays for their own snacks. He basically doesn’t help for profit or self aggrandizement or to further his own career and could very well lose his voter base someday because he is the wrong color.

    But my mom has years of articles about him doing things like stopping illegal commercial kitchens in private homes in Queens because so many things that he has done has made her feel better about what isn’t being done elsewhere. We had an illegal commercial kitchen situation in a rent regulated unit and it was remorseless and dishonest and costly and only caught super redhanded would they stop but there was a sense that there was no community support unlike Senator Avella’s stance on many issues.

    I doubt that he or any other politician will side against tenants even when justified. I think Rebny donations miscommunicate that the real estate ownership seeks to corrupt public service when actually the money and the invitation to abuse is in public funding – that’s what encourages dishonesty not some one time check from Rebny.

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