While others can’t seem to put enough distance between themselves and firebrand presidential candidate Donald Trump, the head of one of New York City’s busiest mortgage brokerages is one of the brash billionaire’s few campaign donors.
Meridian Capital Group CEO Ralph Herzka and his wife, Judy, donated a combined $5,000 to Trump’s presidential campaign in late June, filings with the Federal Election Commission released Wednesday show.
Herzka could not be immediately reached for comment.
Trump, whose controversial statements from everything on immigration to Senator John McCain’s war record have kept him in the headlines since he declared his candidacy last month, filed a personal financial disclosure last week as his campaign claimed his net worth in excess of $10 billion.
And while he’s self-funded the vast majority of his campaign with $1.8 million in candidate loans, Trump has raised slightly more than $90,000 from several dozen contributors who donated between $250 and $8,100 each.
Neither Herzka nor his wife appear to have donated to any of the other leading presidential candidates, though they have been politically active in the past.
The Herzkas contributed to the mayoral campaigns of Bill Thompson, Bill de Blasio and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. They also made donations to the campaign of City Council member David Greenfield, now chair of the Council’s Land Use Committee.
Hank Sheinkopf, a prominent New York City-based political consultant, said that while television brands such as NBC and Telemundo have to worry about the optics of being associated with Trump, a real estate player like Herzka, who himself has a reputation as a fierce competitor, doesn’t stand to lose much business from the association.
“Television’s a perception business. Real estate isn’t,” Sheinkopf said.
“People give to candidates either because they believe in the candidate or they want the candidate to believe in them,” he added. “This case is no different.”
And despite the fact that Trump has been merely a bit player on the real estate scene for quite some time now, there is one detail of his presidential run that ties back to the industry. His campaign treasurer, Timothy Jost, is politically tied to Republican strategist Roger Stone.
In 2007, Stone resigned as a top advisor to the New York State Senate majority leader Joseph Bruno after Stone was accused of sending a profanity-laden voicemail threatening to subpoena the developer Bernard Spitzer whose son, Eliot, had recently been elected governor.