These real estate heavyweights were invited to Cuomo’s secretive fundraiser

The ever-colorful John Catsimatidis said that over his 50 years in business, he's gotten "ungatz" from the city or state

TRD New York /
Mar.March 28, 2019 09:30 AM

From left: Douglas Durst, Andrew Cuomo, and John Castimatidis (Credit: Getty Images)

Developer Douglas Durst and billionaire John Castimatidis were among the bigwigs invited to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s secretive fundraiser earlier this month.

Durst, chairman of the Durst Organization, donated but didn’t attend the event, which was held at the St. Regis Hotel, the New York Times reported. The minimum donation per couple was $25,000.

Catsimatidis said he did not contribute or go to the event — and said he was invited because of his longtime friendship with the governor. “I go back with the governor 20 years,” he told the Times.

“In 50 years in business, I have never gotten anything from the city or the state,” the Red Apple Group head told the Times. “You know what I’ve gotten? Ungatz. That’s Italian, I think.””

Other real estate figures who received invites included Island Capital Group’s Andrew Farkas and Atlantic Development Group’s Peter Fine, according to the Times.

The dinner was kept under the radar and not listed on Cuomo’s calendar. The invitation, too, was vaguely worded, the report said.

The pricey fundraiser was planned as the New York State budget comes due — and lobbyists advised clients that the event would be good for them to attend. Guests included senior Cuomo administration officials, including the state budget director Robert Mujica.

Cuomo gave a speech to a room of about 100 people, talking about Amazon, the tumult in Washington and the transition from campaigning to governing.

Two months earlier, Cuomo promised to work on campaign finance reform. He signed new limitations on corporate donations and he has vowed to “combat big money in politics.” The governor has been a big fundraiser himself, with the vast portion of his political donations coming from big checks.

Last year, he accumulated more than $30 million in his campaign war chest, before a pricey effort to fend off a primary challenge from Cynthia Nixon. [NYT] — Meenal Vamburkar

Related Articles


EB-5 sees investment boost, tensions flare between brokers and StreetEasy: Daily digest

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

By the numbers: Breaking down national housing agendas from the far left

Nuveen CEO Vijay Advani, Blackstone President & COO Jonathan Gray and one of the Texas properties

Blackstone just sold off a 29M sf national industrial portfolio

The purge continues: WeWork’s head of real estate is leaving

Judith and Rudy Giuliani Rudolph and Judith Giuliani are divorcing after 16 years. (Credit: Getty Images, Trulia, Highrises)

Luxury properties at play in Rudy Giuliani’s ugly divorce

Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator James Skoufis (Credit: Getty Images, NY Senate)

Owners of some residential properties can’t hide behind
LLCs anymore

Jimmy Van Bramer (Credit:, iStock)

After failing to meet his own deadline, Queens council member returns thousands in real estate donations

General contractors are suffering under Trump’s new tariffs on Chinese goods