Betting the spread: Real estate czars donate to multiple mayoral candidates

TRD New York /
Mar.March 19, 2013 10:00 AM

New York City real estate moguls are covering their bases on the upcoming mayoral election, giving donations to more than one candidate, an analysis of campaign finance reports by the New York Daily News shows. 

Last week, SL Green Realty’s Stephen Green and seven of his executives wrote checks totaling just under $19,000 to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s campaign. The same day, they donated $9,400 to the campaign of former city controller William Thompson.

Jay Kriegel, a senior adviser at the Related Companies, the developer behind the Hudson Yards megaproject, spread more than $80,000 in donations among the three mayoral campaigns, the analysis shows.

And earlier in July, executives at Silverstein Properties wrote $4,440 in checks to Quinn, and the same amount in checks to Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is also vying to be mayor.

At least hundreds of thousands of dollars have been distributed to mayoral campaigns in this fashion, according to the Daily News. Critics say this is less about a developer’s belief in a particular vision for the city’s growth, and more about having the ear of whoever gets to power.

“It’s about whoever gets to be mayor, the industry has to have access,” Susan Lerner, of the watchdog group Common Cause, told the Daily News.

Having a good relationship with the powers that be can be key for future projects, as The Real Deal reported last year, in an analysis of the top developers’ relationships with City Hall.

Though the money has spread to several candidates, Quinn, who is the frontrunner in the race, has received the lion’s share, the analysis reveals. Some $1.3 million has flowed into her campaign from the real estate industry, compared to $117,895 for Thompson and $99,022 for de Blasio. Quinn’s donors include key executives at some of the city’s biggest brokerages, including CB Richard Ellis, the Corcoran Group and Cushman & Wakefield.

The developers reached by the Daily News declined to comment. [NYDN]Hiten Samtani

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