Quinn receives thousands in Vornado donations through campaign finance loophole

September 03, 2010 01:00PM

From left: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Vornado’s planned 15 Penn Plaza and company chairman Steven Roth

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Vornado Realty Trust through a loophole in campaign finance regulations, despite publicly praising a three-year-old law that was supposed to limit the amount that individuals doing business with the city are allowed to contribute, to $400 each. According to Crain’s, Quinn received $19,900 from Vornado executives, nearly $15,000 of which is being held in an account saved for her expected 2013 mayoral campaign. The donations began coming in around the same time the city began building a database of companies doing business with the city as part of the new campaign finance law, which passed in 2007. Last week, the City Council approved Vornado’s proposed skyscraper at 15 Penn Plaza with Quinn’s support, despite resistance from Community Board 5. Since the Vornado project is listed under 401 Hotel Reit LLC, Vornado and its executives aren’t considered to be “doing business with the city” themselves — only the LLC is — making it easy for them to skirt the $400 limit. Earlier this week, Quinn said she supported efforts to close that loophole by adding new disclosure requirements for companies with ownership interests in LLCs. Still, she doesn’t plan to return Vornado’s donations. [Crain’s]