The Real Deal New York

GOP beats Dems in fourth quarter committee donations from NYC real estate execs

Vornado's Roth and Related's Ross each gave $100K to Romney backers

February 01, 2012 01:30PM
By Adam Pincus

(source: U.S. Federal Election Commission)

In the last three months of 2011, New York City real estate executives gave more than six times as much to Republican political committees as Democratic groups, a review of federal election documents released yesterday shows.

Republican backers, including Vornado Realty Trust’s Steven Roth and Related Companies’ Stephen Ross, donated a total of $280,000 in the fourth quarter of the year to federal campaign committees, while Democrats contributed $43,300. An additional 10 donors gave $36,000 to political groups that back candidates in both parties (see partial list above and full list below).

City real estate executives who donated $2,000 or more in the fourth quarter gave a total of $359,600 to federal campaign committees, the analysis shows. The final tallies were posted yesterday on the U.S. Federal Election Commission website.

The analysis is for contributions to federal campaign committees, not to the individual presidential and congressional candidates.

Ross and Roth were the top donors, each sending in $100,000 to the Restore Our Future political action committee, which backs GOP presidential front-runner, Mitt Romney.

Ross said in a statement to The Real Deal, “I have long been a staunch supporter of Mitt Romney. We are at a very pivotal time in our country where we need the type of leadership and experience that Mitt possesses and I believe he would be a great president.

Other top GOP donors include Edward Minskoff, president of Edward J. Minskoff Equities, who gave $30,800 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Minskoff said he did not contribute with his real estate interests in mind, but instead said, “There is a lot of fixing that needs to be done in our country right now.”

Mitchell Steir, chairman and CEO of commercial brokerage firm Studley, gave $25,000 to the same Senate Republican group.

Democrats lagged in their largess last quarter.

The top donor to Democratic groups was Jeffrey Gural, a well-known liberal and chairman of commercial brokerage Newmark Knight Frank, who gave $15,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Gural said while he has friends on both sides of the political divide, he believes wealthy Americans should be paying more in taxes, not less.

“I believe the system is skewed to benefit the wealthy,” he said, pointing to those in the military serving overseas that often make personal sacrifices to deploy, yet those well-off here don’t want to pay more in taxes to support the added costs of that defense spending.

“I think [wealthy individuals] like the tax code the way it is. And I think they view the Republicans as more business-friendly than the Democrats. I am not sure that is necessarily the case,” he said.

Aaron Gleich, a real estate developer, gave $10,800 to the same Democratic committee and Burton Resnick, CEO of Jack Resnick & Sons, gave $5,000 to the Democratic National Committee.

Other donors gave to political groups that then donate to both Democrats and Republicans. For example, Richard Clark, CEO of Brookfield Office Properties, gave $5,000 to the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts PAC; and Mitchell Rudin, president and CEO of U.S. commercial operations for Brookfield, also gave $5,000 to the same committee.

Q4 Contributions

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