The Real Deal New York

“Everybody is looking for somebody to blame for all of the evils”: Developers face political backlash

Politicians are rejecting donations from the industry
February 04, 2019 01:01PM

From left: Eliot Spitzer, Andrew Cuomo, Bill de Blasio, and Jeff Gural (Credit: Getty Images)

The latest trend in New York political donations is to reject money from real estate developers — a shift some in the industry are viewing as evidence of a “new world order.”

Last week, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson vowed to refuse money from “real estate developers or anyone employed at their firms,” in what will likely be his 2021 mayoral run (though he has collected it in the past). His decision followed that of others to deny donations from the industry, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sen. Julia Salazar, Sen. Mike Gianaris and Public Advocate candidate Jumaane Williams.

Some also viewed the fact that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t attend this year’s Real Estate Board of New York gala as symbolic of a change in attitude. Developer Jeff Gural cited their absence as evidence of a “new world order.”

“This is like an atmospheric problem with politics — everybody is looking for somebody to blame for all of the evils in society,” another real estate executive told Politico. “Donald Trump blames immigrants and New York City politicians blame the real estate industry.”

REBNY president John Banks told Politico that their absence was “really meaningless.” [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel