Chelsea Hotel owners donate to de Blasio campaign while seeking approval from City Hall

The donations total $57,400 to de Blasio’s campaign and PACs
July 31, 2019 11:00AM

Bill de Blasio and the Chelsea Hotel under construction and (inset) in 2012 (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps, Wikipedia)

Bill de Blasio and the Chelsea Hotel under construction and (inset) in 2012 (Credit: Getty Images, Google Maps, Wikipedia)

While seeking approval from the City to renovate the Chelsea Hotel, the owners of the famed hotel were making donations to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign.

Chelsea Hotel owners Ira Drukier and Richard Born pooled together a total of $57,400 in political donations to de Blasio’s campaign and PACs from August 2018 to June 2019, The City reported. The checks were signed by Drukier, Born, their employees and an LLC that the pair control.

At the same time, the owners were seeking a certificate of no-harassment from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which they need to move forward with the renovation. The hotel owners filed their application in February, which is still pending.

The timing of the donations and application raise questions about political influence at City Hall – a narrative that de Blasio has often had to defend against. The mayor has repeatedly said he does not accept donations from people or companies in the city’s “doing business” database. But that only includes those who have contracts with the city – it doesn’t cover anyone who’s simply seeking approval from a city agency.

“The mayor has gone above and beyond the law in refusing to take contributions from anyone in the doing business database,” Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a spokesperson for de Blasio’s presidential campaign, told The City.

Lapeyrolerie declined to comment on whether de Blasio personally solicited the donations from Drukier and Born. Representatives for the hotel developers didn’t respond to The City’s requests for comment.

Meanwhile, the Department of Buildings issued a stop-work order on the hotel’s renovations in November. The hotel’s rent-stabilized tenants complained that the owners were pushing them out and filed a lawsuit in January. In the interim, the stop-work order was lifted. [The City] — Georgia Kromrei