Campaign for One NY head aggressively targeted donors with business before city

Now-defunct nonprofit eyed developers looking for cozy relationship with City Hall

TRD NEW YORK /
Dec.December 12, 2016 11:40 AM

The fundraising effort for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s controversial Campaign for One New York nonprofit – headed by political aide Ross Offinger – went above and beyond normal efforts to tap donors who had business before the city, many of whom were developers, a new report claims.

A trio of lobbyists described de Blasio’s dialing-for-dollars effort to fill the coffers of CONY, which de Blasio set up to advance initiatives like universal pre-kindergarten and changing the balance of power in Albany, the New York Daily News reported.

Campaign Finance Rules Place limits on how much donors can give to the mayor’s political campaign, but they can give unlimited funds to his now-defunct nonprofit. It’s created a situation that calls into question whether many of the donors who stand to benefit from a cozy relationship with City Hall were making donations to support the political initiatives, or get a sweetheart deal from the city.

Offinger, who served as finance director for de Blasio’s official election committee, often pitted lobbyists against each other in competition to raise more than each other, two lobbyists told the News.

“He said it was for big donors, minimum of $10K, but it was for people who give in the neighborhood of six figures. It was the biggest of the big donors,” one of the lobbyists said.

Offinger asked one lobbyist to follow up with clients who had already spoken with the mayor but said that because the mayor already reached out, the lobbyist wouldn’t get “credit” with City Hall – which the lobbyist understood to mean the administration looking favorably on future requests, the Daily News reported

In early 2015, three weeks after Brookfield Property Partners TRData LogoTINY broke ground on its 790-unit apartment building at Manhattan West, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen chatted on the phone with then-Brookfield chairman John Zuccotti, who was on Offinger’s list of potential CONY donors. Brookfield wrote a check to CONY that same day.

In 2015, Tishman Realty & Construction reached a deal to pay $40 million to buy city-owned land in Times Square that the firm had leased for years. Two months later, an LLC affiliated with the company wrote two checks totaling $20,000, the Daily News reported.  JDS Development also donated $13,500 to Campaign for One New York in June 2015. At the time, it was drafting plans for the largest planned tower in Brooklyn at 9 DeKalb.

Donors with pending business before the city gave at least $3 million of the $4.3 million raised by CONY from when it began in January 2014 to when it was shut down in March. [NYDN]Rich Bockmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered the message this week ahead of a formal plan to combat social gathering in the city. (Credit: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images and Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

New York City to enforce social distancing at parks, playgrounds

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)

Mayor questions allowing condo construction during pandemic

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, iStock)

Governor gives NYC 24 hours to make crowd-reduction plan

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Photo by William Farrington-Pool/Getty Images)

De Blasio says he will pursue rent moratorium

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images)

De Blasio considering shelter-in-place order

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at a press conference about COVID-19 (Credit: Michael Brochstein / Echoes Wre/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

NYC restaurants, bars, schools closed to prevent virus spread

During de Blasio’s state of the city address last month, the mayor proposed a vacancy tax once again, in a bid to tackle the city’s 12,000 empty storefronts. (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

San Francisco passed a tax on vacant storefronts. What does that mean for NYC?

Blackstone's Jonathan Gray and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty  Images)

City sides with tenants at Stuy Town in case against Blackstone

arrow_forward_ios
Loading...