The Real Deal New York

Through LLC loophole, Cuomo gets free rent from SL Green

A $15,842 contribution from the REIT's LLC was actually just an office space rebate
July 19, 2017 03:15PM

Marc Holliday, Gov. Cuomo, Stephen Green and the Graybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue

A corporation can’t give a New York state political candidate more than $5,000, but an LLC can give as much as $65,000, which is how SL Green Realty cut Gov. Andrew Cuomo a sweet deal on office rent for his re-election campaign.

A report in Crain’s reveals that a recent $15,842 “in-kind” contribution from Emerald City LLC, was really SL Green using the LLC loophole in election laws to pay Cuomo’s rent. SL Green has been cutting Cuomo checks in this way since at least 2011, according to campaign finance disclosures. The property where the Cuomo campaign leases the space is the Graybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue.

Since he first took office in 2011, Cuomo has several times decried the use of the same LLC loophole that allows New York City’s largest office landlord to house his campaign staff free of charge. The governor floated doing away with the loophole just last year, and such a bill passed the Democratic-controlled Assembly this June, but it never made it to the floor in the Republican-controlled Senate.

In addition to the rent rebates, Cuomo has received numerous donations from SL Green CEO Marc Holliday and founder Stephen Green over the years. In 2012, Green reportedly lent Cuomo his private jet for a California fundraising trip. The Cuomo campaign did not respond to Crain’s requests for comment. [Crain’s]Will Parker

Correction: A previous version of this story listed the incorrect address of the Graybar Building. It is at 420 Lexington Avenue