Neighborhood lobbying group Pledge 2 Protect settled with the state for failing to disclose that more than a million dollars it received from a Manhattan law firm was actually just cash from developer Glenwood Management, one of the most prolific political spenders in New York history.
Although the settlement with New York’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) presents the first public admission of the funding source, Glenwood’s backdoor funneling of anonymous lobbying money to Pledge 2 Protect was well documented.
A 2015 investigation by the Albany Times Union showed that a mysterious law firm called Marquart & Small, which had forked out large donations to the group, was actually the work of a Doreen Small, the ex-wife of long time Glenwood counsel, Charlie Dorego. Just two weeks after Small founded the law firm, which purported to operate out of a Flatiron co-working space, it gave $177,000 to Pledge 2 Protect.
At the time of the 2013 and 2014 donations, Pledge 2 Protect was protesting a marine waste transfer station, scheduled for construction at East 92nd Street near Glenwood’s Upper East Side buildings. Dorego was already known to be involved in another interest group opposing the trash station, Gracie Point Community Council. Environmental groups long contended that Glenwood was secretly bankrolling efforts to prevent the station from being constructed.
As part of the settlement with JCOPE, Pledge 2 Protect also admitted that it and Glenwood hired the same attorney whose job it was to make sure Glenwood’s donations could remain anonymous while still complying with the Lobbying Act. Pledge 2 Protect will now have to amend its lobbying forms to show Glenwood was the real source of the money it received from Marquart & Small.
Despite Glenwood’s efforts, the station is still slated to open in 2020.
Through an attorney, Dorego declined to comment.
Leonard Litwin, the founder of Glenwood Management , died in April at the age of 102. His company was a key player in an alleged kickback scheme involving former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, as well as a figure in a corruption case against former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Both Silver and Skelos were convicted and received prison sentences in 2016, though they have appealed the convictions.
In December, Glenwood paid a fine by JCOPE for violating ethics laws in connection with both the Silver and Skelos scandals.