LeFrak, Roth to head up Trump’s new infrastructure council

Developers will help oversee up to $1 trillion in spending and private investment

TRD New York /
Jan.January 16, 2017 04:02 PM

From left: Donald Trump, Richard LeFrak, Steven Roth and the Port Newark container terminal

UPDATED: Thursday, Jan. 19 at 10:12 a.m.: President-elect Donald Trump tapped longtime friends and fellow developers Steven Roth and Richard LeFrak to head up a council that will monitor national infrastructure spending.

“They’re pros,” Trump Told The Wall Street Journal Friday. “That’s what they do. All their lives, they build. They build under-budget, ahead of schedule.”

Both Roth TRData LogoTINY, who leads Vornado Realty Trust, and LeFrak, who heads the LeFrak Organization, have agreed to take the new positions, Trump said.

In October, Trump economic advisors Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro unveiled an infrastructure plan set on generating up to $1 trillion in private investment by doling out $137 billion in tax cuts.

Roth and LeFrak have been fixtures of the New York real estate industry for decades and both are known to be among the president-elect’s closest friends. LeFrak was at one time the only personal friend allowed to bring his dogs to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, and Roth, who co-owns 1290 Sixth Avenue with Trump, has a relationship with the president-elect that dates back to the 1980s.

While LeFrak was a major donor to the Trump campaign, giving $100,000 to the candidate’s victory fund last summer, Roth, a campaign economic adviser, remained mysteriously quiet with both his words and with his wallet. He gave no money to Trump and when asked in a call with investors last September about his involvement with the campaign he simply said “I don’t spend any time on it.” Campaign finance records later revealed that he donated $250,000 to Trump’s campaign. [WSJ] — Will Parker

Clarification: Although Roth did not donate to the Trump campaign for much of the presidential race, he later donated $250,000.

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