More than a quarter of this Queens DA candidate’s donations are from real estate players

Melinda Katz has vowed to hold firms account for safety issues

TRD New York /
Apr.April 08, 2019 12:00 PM
From left: Red Apple Group's John Catsimatidis, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Two Trees Management's David Walentas (Credit: Getty Images)

From left: Red Apple Group’s John Catsimatidis, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Two Trees Management’s David Walentas (Credit: Getty Images)

In her run for district attorney, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has vowed to hold developers and construction firms accountable for safety issues. But that hasn’t stopped real estate developers from donating to her campaign.

More than $250,000 of the roughly $1 million Katz collected through Jan. 11 came from developers and other industry players, The City reported. That makes her the race’s top recipient so far of real estate-related donations.

Her donors include David Walentas of Two Trees Management, Winston Fisher of Fisher Brothers and John Catsimatidis of the Red Apple Group. And some of the supporters have backed her for years, including her two runs for Queens borough president.

Prior this seat, which she’s held since 2014, Katz was a Council member from 2002 to 2009 and served as chair of the City Council’s Land Use Committee. In between those two roles, she worked as a lobbyist with the law firm Greenberg Traurig, where a company associated with Forest Hills-based Muss Development was among their clients. Principal Joshua Muss and an associated firm have donated $5,400 to Katz’s campaign funds since 2018.

Katz’s DA platform has included a promise to assign an investigator to every workplace accident that results in serious injury. “Developers and construction companies will be held accountable if they fail to follow the law and keep their workers safe,” her platform says.

Katz’s run comes after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unseated former Democratic county chairman Joe Crowley. The primary race also comes amid increasing labor activism, which helped undo Amazon’s plans for a campus in Long Island City. [The City] — Meenal Vamburkar

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