Developers cutting big checks to de Blasio’s “shadow cabinet”

Mayor's political consultants could pose potential conflict of interest

TRD New York /
Nov.November 04, 2015 01:38 PM

There’s a long history of real estate developers tapping into City Hall, but certain donations in the past year show that they may also have the mayor’s ear through privately funded consulting firms.

Since his mayoral campaign in 2013, Mayor Bill de Blasio has depended on several political consultants, who have raked in almost $2.3 million in the past year to help push the administration’s message. A majority of these funds were contributed by the nonprofit group One New York, which received $1.1. million from real estate developers. This was the second highest contribution from January 2014 to June 2015, falling only slightly short of unions, which donated $1.3 million.

The mayor’s cadre of consultants represent a possible conflict of interest, the New York Times noted, since many of their clients are major business players in the city.

BerlinRosen, for instance, has overseen communications strategies for One New York, while also counting real estate developers — Forest City Ratner Companies, SL Green Realty and Two Trees Management — among its clients. Two Trees Management, the developer behind the Domino Sugar redevelopment project, donated $100,000 to One New York in the past year. Former Edison Properties boss Stephen Nislick — along with animal activist partner Wendy Neu — donated more than $100,000.

What sets the mayor’s relationship with these consultants apart is that he’s met with these advisors more often than some of senior members of his administration, records of de Blasio’s schedule show. The relationship with the “shadow cabinet” is also seemingly out of step with his beliefs before becoming mayor, when he spoke out against the role of “shadowy” nonprofit groups in politics. The mayor’s press secretary, Karen Hinton, told the newspaper that One New York’s involvement with de Blasio doesn’t contradict the mayor’s previous statements, as the organization “does not engage in politics” and “exists solely to advance the administration’s agenda.”  [NYT]Kathryn Brenzel

Related Articles

Cea Weaver and the Nassau County Courthouse (Credit: Wikipedia)

Tenant group attacks Democratic senators for taking real estate money

Josue Pierre

Here’s one Democratic challenger who’ll take real estate money

Jumaane Williams and Joseph Borelli (Credit: Getty Images, Joseph Borelli)

Real estate donors: Election? What election?

When Bill de Blasio announced the end of his campaign, the industry reacted largely with relief but not surprise (Credit: Getty Images and Pixabay)

De Blasio’s campaign is dead, and real estate is happy

Brookfield's Ric Clark and an aerial view of the Greenpoint Landing development site (Credit: Google Maps)

Three developers slapped on wrist for de Blasio donations

Gary Barnett says luxury market is crowded, WeWork IPO woes continue: Daily Digest

Gary Barnett says luxury market is crowded, WeWork IPO woes continue: Daily Digest

The blackout impacted a 42-block stretch of Manhattan between the Hudson River and Fifth Avenue (Credit: Getty Images)

Con Ed still searching for answers in Manhattan blackout

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rikers Island (Credit: Getty Images)

Real estate development not coming to Rikers Island, mayor says