The Real Deal New York

REBNY courts senate Democrat, flexes muscles

REBNY’s John Banks and Jim Whelan power lunched with Senator Mike Gianaris
August 23, 2015 11:00AM

Real Estate Board of New York head John Banks was spotted this week power lunching at the Capital Grille in Midtown with state Senator Mike Gianaris — and it looked like Banks was playing hardball, with REBNY executive vice president Jim Whelan also in attendance.

Cash from REBNY helped Republicans keep their majority in the state Senate back in 2014. But GOP lawmakers ended up siding with labor — demanding that a renewal of 421-a include a prevailing wage provision, according to the New York Post. That means developers would be stuck paying higher wages to construction workers.

Gianaris runs the Democrats’ Senate campaign committee.

“REBNY may be having second thoughts about backing the Republicans,” an unnamed politico told the Post. “Going into 2016 elections, when Democratic votes are expected to swell with or without Hillary Clinton at the top of the ticket, the GOP is going to need all the help it can get to hold on to its majority, making REBNY’s support even more critical.” [NYP] Christopher Cameron