The Real Deal New York

Did Kramer Levin influence the city in Gamma’s Sutton Place zoning fight?

Mayor says decisions are made "on the merits"
June 19, 2018 08:06AM

Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images)

After appealing to two of the mayor’s aides, a lobbying firm temporarily won an exemption from a zoning change on the Upper East Side for Gamma Real Estate.

Kramer Levin, a firm to which the de Blasio administration owes $300,000, urged Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and Planning Commission chair Marisa Lago to halt the Sutton Place zoning change, the New York Daily News reported. The mayor rejected that his administration’s decision to allow Sutton 58 to avoid a rezoning of the neighborhood had anything to do with the lobbying firm.

“It’s just wrong, it’s wrong in every way,” de Blasio told NY1. “The decisions are made on the merits, period.”

Kramer Levin represented the mayor during multiple investigations into his fundraising activities, which ultimately didn’t result in criminal charges. The firm continues to represent Gamma, who is fighting the decision of the City Council to include its condo tower in a 10-block rezoning.

Though the City Planning Commission included a grandfather clause for Gamma’s project in the rezoning proposal, the City Council ultimately axed the provision. Gamma is now fighting before the Board of Standards and Appeals to avoid the rezoning, which would significantly limit its tower’s height. [NYDN] — Kathryn Brenzel