The Real Deal New York

NYC real estate players are wasting no time backing Trump’s 2020 run

President is raising cash for his own re-election and fellow Republicans
By Rich Bockmann | April 17, 2017 05:10PM

From left: Donald Trump, Joe Cayre, Eliot Tawil and John Cefaly

Less than 100 days in office, President Trump is already building a war chest to defend the White House in 2020 and help fellow Republicans. And a small handful of New York’s real estate players are once again eager to open their checkbooks.

Through a trio of related campaign committees, Trump raised more than $17 million between January and the end of March, filings with the Federal Elections Commission show.

Trump collected a little more than $7 million for his presidential campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President, which had more than $8.3 million in cash on hand at the end of the filing period.

He also collected contributions through a pair of joint-fundraising committees aimed at directing campaign cash to the Republican National Committee and GOP efforts in more than 20 states, including New York.

According to the New York Times, reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday show the Trump campaign and the Republican Party combined to raise over $31 million during the filing period, far above the $15 million President Barack Obama and Democrats raised in 2009.

The Trump-tied political action committees, spearheaded by former Mitt Romney aide Brad Crate, allow individuals to donate almost $450,000 by maxing out contributions.

On Trump’s way to a surprise victory in November, many in the real estate industry wrote large checks to back the candidate. And they’re again showing their support early on in his presidency.

Eliot Tawil, a principal at Jeff Sutton’s Wharton Properties, donated $50,000 to the Trump Victory political action committee, campaign finance records show. Tawil, who could not be immediately reached for comment, was the single-largest donor to Trump Victory, which raised $66,769 during the filing period.

Last year, then-candidate Trump established the PAC to assist Republican candidates in 21 states. It raised more than $108 million and dispersed payments to the RNC and various state parties, including the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee.

In September, Midtown Equities’ TRData LogoTINY Joe Cayre also wrote a check for $50,000 to Trump Victory.

This time around, Cayre donated $581.67 to Trump Make America Great Again, which sends 75 percent of a contribution to Trump’s presidential account for 2020 and 25 percent to the RNC’s operating account.

His son, Jack Cayre, also donated $361.42 to the joint-committee, and veteran Cushman & Wakefield broker John Cefaly made a $1,000 contribution. Both also donated to Trump last year.

Campaign records show Trump’s campaign also paid the Trump Organization about $300,000 to rent space at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

At this point in the Trump presidency – he hasn’t yet hit the 100-day mark – the real estate industry appears to have mixed feelings about his policies.

Earlier this month, industry figures including Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s Barry Gosin, the Related Companies’ Jeff Blau and Rudin Management’s Bill Rudin attended a CEO town hall Trump hosted on Capitol Hill.

Tishman Speyer chairman Jerry Speyer praised Trump, but said business leaders were concerned about budget cuts coming out of Washington, D.C.

“[W]e’re worried about various programs that help the city,” he said. “The city is doing fine right now — even the Yankees are doing fine. But what we’re really concerned about is the future.”

Kathryn Wylde, president of business association the Partnership for New York City, said the real estate industry’s main concerns are tax reform and infrastructure spending.

“There are obviously some concerns about changes in the tax bill where Trump has not come down yet with a strong position,” she said. “A number of his people are on the other side from the industry.”

“There are some substantive concerns, but I think the real estate industry is depending on Trump’s knowledge to make sure nothing bad happens,” she added.