Brokers, developers contribute to presidential campaigns

By Sara Polsky | September 23, 2008 06:25PM

Real estate brokers are lining up with their checkbooks in anticipation of the November presidential election.

The majority of New York City’s top brokers who made contributions to
the two presidential candidates’ campaigns donated to Barack Obama,
according to The Real Deal’s unscientific survey of campaign
contribution data kept by the Federal Election Commission.

Hall Willkie, president of Brown Harris Stevens ($2,100), Michael Colacino, president of Studley, Inc. ($4,600), and Patricia Burnham ($1,000), head of P.S. Burnham Inc., are three brokers who have made contributions to Obama’s campaign since mid-2007.

Dottie Herman, president and CEO of Prudential Douglas Elliman, gave $2,300 to John McCain. Herman has contributed on both sides of the aisle, a practice not uncommon among real estate pros.

High-profile developers’ contributions show a similar party split. The Trump family has given close to $50,000 to the McCain campaign. Richard LeFrak, chairman, president, and CEO of the LeFrak Organization gave $2,300 to McCain. His son Harrison, also with the LeFrak Organization, gave $65,500 to a McCain-connected fundraising committee and another $28,500 to the Republican National Committee.

But Obama contributors include SL Green Realty Corp.’s Founder Stephen Green ($4,600), Vornado Realty Trust CEO Steven Roth ($2,300), and Boston Properties CEO Edward Linde ($9,200).

Other McCain supporters in the real estate industry include Donald Manocherian ($3,000), Joseph Chetrit, founder of the Chetrit Group, ($2,100), Peter Kalikow of H.J. Kalikow & Company LLC ($2,300), and Gary Jacob ($2,300), executive vice president of Glenwood Management Corp.

Meanwhile, Obama counts Elihu Rose ($4,600), a partner at Rose Associates, and Benjamin Winter ($2,300), principal at the Winter Organization, among his donors.