The Real Deal New York

Kiryas Joel-based developer is Cuomo’s top donor this year

Mayer Hirsch contributed $250K after governor vetoed annexation bill

July 20, 2015 12:55PM

Andrew Cuomo and Kiryas Joel, New York.

Andrew Cuomo and Kiryas Joel, N.Y.

A developer in the Orange County neighborhood of Kyras Joel ranks as Governor Andrew Cuomo’s top political donor in 2015, with $250,000 in contributions made less than a week after the governor blocked a bill that would have limited development in the upstate Hasidic village.

A series of nine checks from various LLCs linked to Kiryas Joel developer Mayer Hirsch entered Cuomo’s campaign account on July 13 and 14, according to a filing submitted to the state’s Board of Elections last week.

The donations came a few days after the governor vetoed a bill July 8 that would have required approval for attempts by local governments to annex land within their borders.

The legislation was prompted by Kiryas Joel’s attempt to annex 507 acres that would have made the village up to 70 percent larger, according to Capital New York. Cuomo described the bill as unconstitutional, claiming it ran afoul of Article IX of the state’s constitution by giving “counties control over local annexation petitions that would not impact a county’s boundaries.”

Several property-holding companies linked with Hirsch signed the Kiryas Joel annexation petition, which could have been blocked if Cuomo had approved the bill. Assemblyman James Skoufis, who sponsored the legislation, called the governor’s claim that the proposal unconstitutional “flat-out wrong.”

Cuomo’s campaign contributions have slipped so far in 2015, with the governor raising only $5 million through June. [Capital New York] – Rey Mashayekhi