The Real Deal New York

Bronx Borough President awarded $1.4M grant to developer who donated to campaign

MJM Construction connected to $100k in donations to Diaz Jr.

August 25, 2016 08:09AM

Ruben Diaz Jr.

Bill de Blasio isn’t the only New York City politician under scrutiny for campaign donations from developers. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. awarded a $1.4 million grant to a construction company in 2011 that was connected to $100,000 in donations to his campaign, according to a report.

The company, MJM Construction, was picked to build a multifamily building on a vacant plot at Pelham Parkway. But MJM never actually received the money from the borough president’s 2011 capital budget because the project never got built.

“Campaign finance doesn’t dictate what we do in the office, and it doesn’t affect our decisions or considerations,” a spokesperson for Diaz Jr. told the New York Observer. “They had some record of development, they brought a project to us that was exactly the kind of project that we are into supporting, and we went to HPD and HPD agreed.”

According to the New York Observer, MJM’s principal David Herrera bundled $57,005 in donations to Diaz jr. between 2009 and 2011. A further $42,113 came from people who listed MJM as their employer. Herrera told DNAinfo that the project ran into financing issues. The property is now owned by the Stagg Group, which has plans to build housing on the site, the Observer reported.

Diaz Jr. is a frequent critic of mayor Bill de Blasio and is often cited as his potential challenger in the 2017 mayoral election. Another potential challenger, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, is facing a city probe of his own for allegedly asking outside groups to pay his nonprofit OneBrooklyn to rent space at Borough Hall. [NYO]Konrad Putzier

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