The Real Deal New York

Corcoran Group pros led NY 2011 donations to presidential candidates by firm

Jeff Blau, Stanley Chera, Donald Trump Jr. contributed to Mitt Romney

February 02, 2012 12:15AM
By Adam Pincus

From left: Stephen Ross, chairman of the Related Companies, Robby Browne, senior vice president of the Corcoran Group, Bruce Mosler, chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, Jeff Blau, president at Related, and Jack Cayre, a found of Core.

[Updated 12:50 p.m., on Feb. 2, with chart of New York City's top donors to 2011 presidential campaigns] Professionals from the residential brokerage firm the Corcoran Group were the most generous among employees of real estate companies in New York to give directly to the presidential campaigns of Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and other contenders in 2011, an analysis of election finance data by The Real Deal shows (see chart of New York City’s top donors to 2011 presidential campaigns).

A total of 18 brokers and agents from the Corcoran Group gave $30,920 in 2011 to presidential candidates, the most from any industry firm, residential or commercial. They sent $20,920 to Obama and $10,000 to Romney, the records show. The top contributor from Corcoran was Robert Browne, known as Robby, a company senior vice president who donated the $5,000 maximum to Obama.The next highest firm was Cushman & Wakefield, where 11 professionals gave $12,510 to Obama and $16,750 to Romney.

Bruce Mosler, company chairman of global brokerage, and a Democrat but ever the even-handed negotiator, not only gave $5,000 to Obama, but also gave $2,500 to Romney, the records show.

The next highest-participating firm was Related Companies, where 11 executives including CEO Stephen Ross and President Jeff Blau contributed a total of $27,500 to Romney.

The $2,500 Ross gave to the Romney campaign paled in comparison to the $100,000 he shelled out to an independent political action committee known as a super PAC, Restore Our Future, which also backs Romney. The Real Deal reported on campaign donations to committees yesterday.

A collection of four Newmark Knight Frank brokers donated a total of $5,000 to Obama and $8,500 to Romney. Nine professionals at Prudential Douglas Elliman contributed $4,452 to Obama and $7,500 to Romney.

High-profile donors to Romney included Donald Trump Jr., who gave $2,500 in December and Stanley Chera and his son Haim, both of Crown Acquisitions, who together gave $3,500. Other contributors were Jack Cayre, a real estate investor and co-founder of residential firm Core, who donated $1,500; and Albert Laboz, a principal with United American Land, who gave $1,000.

Top contributors to Obama included Burton Resnick, CEO of Jack Resnick & Sons, who gave the $5,000 maximum; Scott Rechler chairman and CEO of Reckson Properties, who gave $5,000; and James Kuhn, Newmark Knight Frank’s president, gave $5,000 to Obama.

While most executives backed either Obama or Romney, some looked to other candidates.

Eric Anton, a managing director at Brookfield Financial, donated $1,100 to former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty earlier in 2011, then cut a check for $500 for former restaurant executive Herman Cain in December. Glenwood Management owner Leonard Litwin gave $2,500 to Rick Perry. The New York Post reported he gave nearly $700,000 to New York state candidates through dozens of limited liability companies last year.

Overall, Romney raked in $346,825 while Obama took in $206,487 from New York real estate-affiliated donors. Far behind, were Rick Perry, with $33,000; Gingrich with $17,100; Ron Paul with $16,446; and Cain with $1,600.

The real estate contributions were just a small portion of what the campaigns raised in New York. Overall, Obama raised $8.3 million in 2011, Romney $6.8 million, and Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul collected $569,953. The other candidates, including Newt Gingrich and Herman Cain, all raised less than $500,000 last year.

The campaign records released yesterday by the U.S. Federal Election Commission, show dozens of top real estate executives in New York City donated the maximum $5,000 to a presidential candidate.

The maximum an individual is allowed to give to a candidate is $2,500 for the primary and another $2,500 for the general election.

But there are legal ways around those caps. For example Vornado Realty Trust’s Steven Roth, along with Ross, each gave $100,000 legally last year to Restore Our Future super PAC.

A number of executives at some of the city’s larger firms were noticeably absent or under-represented, such as those from Massey Knakal Realty Services, which gave nothing, or CBRE Group, the city’s largest commercial firm, where just two individuals contributed a combined $3,000.

NYC’s top donors to 2011 presidential campaigns

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