Developers’ donations hurt affordable housing: OPINION

TRD New York /
Oct.October 28, 2013 10:15 AM

The city’s dearth of affordable housing can be directly tied to campaign finance laws that allow real estate developers to make huge campaign contributions, according to the director of the city’s oldest tenants’ union.

“This year, after receiving tons of money from well-placed donors, the governor and members of the [New York] State Legislature quietly gave away millions of your tax dollars to developers of luxury towers,” Jaron Benjamin of the Metropolitan Council on Housing wrote in an op-ed, referring to a 421a tax abatement given to five New York City developers including Extell Development and Silverstein Properties. The dollars, Benjamin argues, could have been used to repair derelict apartment buildings or to give rent subsidies to people in need.

“The deal was so bad that it is being looked at by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption,” Benjamin wrote in the opinion piece, published in the New York Daily News.

A recent Metropolitan Council report found that four of the five developers used campaign finance loopholes and high contribution limits to give over $1.5 million to state elected officials, political parties and real estate-backed political action committees between 2008 and 2012. Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed the 421a legislation, was the largest beneficiary, raking in $150,000 from the four developers in campaign donations last year.

“A handful of real estate developers winning such a huge giveaway at a time where there are more homeless people in New York City than ever before, and too many families paying too much of their income on housing, is a reflection of just how broken the current campaign finance system is,” Benjamin wrote.

The real estate industry has also had a major impact in the city elections this season, in particular in the City Council races, as The Real Deal reported. [NYDN]Hiten Samtani


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
One Manhattan Square Extell Development CEO Gary Barnett (Credit: Curbed NY)

Extell lands $690M refinancing package for One Manhattan Square

Extell lands $690M refinancing package for One Manhattan Square
A rendering of 165 Broome Street (Credit: Handel Architects)

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing

Nonprofit plans affordable housing development near Essex Crossing
All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag

All Falls Down: Kanye West’s “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing plan hits snag
Extell Development president Gary Barnett and Kushner Companies founder Charles Kushner with a rendering The Lofts at Pier Village in New Jersey (Rendering via Extell Development)

Kushner Cos. buys Gary Barnett out of development on NJ waterfront

Kushner Cos. buys Gary Barnett out of development on NJ waterfront
Silverstein Properties chairman Larry Silverstein (Getty)

Silverstein Properties raises $30M on Israeli bond market

Silverstein Properties raises $30M on Israeli bond market
HNA Group’s Guoqing Chen, One57 and  and Gary Barnett (Godsfriendchuck via Wikipedia)

HNA’s fire sale continues with One57 deal

HNA’s fire sale continues with One57 deal
Joy Construction’s Eli Weiss, Maddd Equities’ Jorge Madruga, and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Google Maps, Getty)

Inwood rezoning faces new challenges in HPD budget cuts

Inwood rezoning faces new challenges in HPD budget cuts
Councilman Mark Levine (Credit: Getty Images)

Council moves to free co-op owners from rent-reg bureaucracy

Council moves to free co-op owners from rent-reg bureaucracy
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...