Real estate responsible for 10% of all campaign funds in NY

Together, REBNY members and their firms spent $21.7 million on last year's elections

TRD New York /
Apr.April 15, 2015 08:31 AM

Members of the Real Estate Board of New York and their firms spent $21.7 million on campaign contributions during the most recent state-level elections, accounting for more than a tenth of the total of donations.

Governor Andrew Cuomo received the majority of the real estate industry’s money, Capital New York reported. Republicans — who now control the state senate — benefited also. The governor, who reportedly stopped an investigation into REBNY’s campaign contributions, received $5.9 million and his running mate Kathy Hochul got $102,900 from REBNY members, according to Capital.

REBNY’s largest donor was Leonard Litwin’s Glenwood Management. Litwin, who was identified as  “Developer 1” in federal charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, spent $3.8 million on the 2014 elections. More than a third of Litwin’s political contributions went to Cuomo or Hochul, according to the website.

Other big political donors include, Vornado Realty Trust, Rudin Management, Tishman Speyer Development, the Related Companies and Brookfield Financial, who together donated $4.7 million during last year’s elections. Of that money, Cuomo received $3.3 million.

RFR Holdings and SL Green helped the governor in other ways, according to the website. The companies both lent Cuomo their corporate jets, Capital reported. SL Green provided a $40,000 discount on Cuomo’s campaign office.

REBNY’s president Steven Spinola started the Committee to Save New York, which raised $17 million to help Cuomo during the 2011 elections.

The $11.2 million Cuomo received from REBNY members is more than twice the total amount of money Cuomo’s opponent Rob Astorino raised. [Capital NY] — Claire Moses


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