Trump’s New York real estate buddies descend on DC

LeFrak, Lorber, Witkoff and others are attending the inauguration and other festivities

New York /
Jan.January 19, 2017 09:30 AM

When Donald Trump raises his right hand and puts his other on the the Lincoln Bible, his real estate friends from New York City will be standing nearby.

A cadre of real estate bigwigs are descending on the nation’s capital to watch one of their own be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. The guest list isn’t surprising: Outspoken supporters like Richard LeFrak TRData LogoTINY, Howard Lorber and Steve Witkoff have all confirmed that they will attend Friday’s ceremony. Vornado Realty Trust’s Steve Roth will most likely also be in the crowd, though he hasn’t yet confirmed his plans.

The night before the inauguration, some of the country’s biggest financial underwriters will be attending a private dinner with the president-elect. Witkoff said he’s attending the candlelight dinner at Union Station, which is part of a package of perks offered to those who donated at least $250,000 to the Presidential Inauguration Committee. Those who donated at least $1 million received a slew of additional benefits, including tickets to a private dinner with Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife. Michael Lorber, the son of the Vector Group CEO, posted a video on Instagram of the vice presidential dinner.

Inaugural attendees from the real estate world were major financial backers during Trump’s campaign as well. Roth and LeFrak each individually donated $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, and Lorber and Witkoff each gave $200,000, according to the latest filings from the Federal Election Commission. Catsimatidis gave $100,000, Joe Cayre donated $50,000 and Ziel Feldman chipped in $25,000.

LeFrak and Feldman confirmed through representatives that they would attend the inauguration. Cayre had a vacation commitment with his grandchildren that will keep him away from the festivities. Stan Gale Jr. said he, his father and sister will be at the inauguration. Catsimatidis, who when asked last summer which candidate he would support for president told TRD “I’m very friendly with both people running,” is also attending.

Elie Hirschfeld, an early Trump supporter who worked alongside him at the Riverside South apartment development in the 1980s, will be spending some of his time with the Republican Party of New York at Washington’s Loews Madison Hotel, where a number of city real estate players are expected to show for a Thursday morning breakfast. “It’s very exciting, but we in New York are a little jaded because we know the president-elect so well,” Hirschfeld said in an interview, “in a sense that takes a little bit away from the magnificence of the event.”

Hirschfeld isn’t the only Trump old-timer drawing his sentiments from decades of Trumpanionship. Kramer Levin attorney Jay Neveloff, who has represented Trump on major deals dating back to Trump Tower in the early 1980s, said the 58th presidential inauguration would for him be more exciting than most. “It’s somebody I’ve known for so long, that’s the exciting thing,” Neveloff said. While he won’t be attending the candlelight dinner, Neveloff did say he had “great seats” for the parade.

Over the next few days, Trump’s friends will be staying at the Ritz-Carlton, the Willard InterContinental, the Loews Madison Hotel and the Fairmont. No one who spoke to TRD, however, said they were staying at the newly-opened Trump International Hotel.


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