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

Jimmy Van Bramer promised to return $15K-$20K in donations by January

TRD New York /
Aug.August 19, 2019 05:37 PM
Jimmy Van Bramer (Credit: NYC.gov, iStock)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Credit: NYC.gov, iStock)

Council member Jimmy Van Bramer says his campaign cut checks to various developers and landlords on Monday, following criticism that he hadn’t lived up to his promise to return thousands in donations from the real estate industry.

In a tweet on Monday afternoon, Van Bramer — who plans to run for Queens borough president — said he returned thousands of dollars worth of donations from developers and included images of four cashier checks. The checks were made out to the Brodsky Organization’s Daniel Brodsky, for $2,500; Fisher Brothers’ Winston Fisher, for $3,950; Rockrose’s Henry Elghanayan, for $1,000; and Taxpayers for an Affordable New York (a coalition made up of various real estate groups, including the Real Estate Board of New York), for $320.

The tweet was in response to a Daily News story published on Saturday, which found that Van Bramer hadn’t returned any real estate donations since pledging to do so in November. At the time, he said he would return between $15,000 and $20,000 from landlords and developers by January 2019.

Van Bramer’s promise was part of a larger trend of elected officials vowing to refuse campaign donations from real estate. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, state Sen. Julia Salazar, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon and Sen. Michael Gianaris made similar pledges. According to the Daily News, Van Bramer’s delay in returning donations could jeopardize his chances of securing the endorsement of the New York City Democratic Socialists of America for Queens borough president. The group played a large part in Tiffany Cabán’s campaign for Queens District Attorney and in helping push through major changes to the state’s rent stabilization laws.

A spokesperson for REBNY, Jamie McShane, said the focus should be on whether Van Bramer’s policies create jobs and affordable housing.

“We also wonder if he will apply the same standard to other contributors who lobby him for their special interests,” he said. “It seems like a double standard.”

John Werwaiss of Werwaiss & Co Inc., who donated $3,950 to Van Bramer in March, said he hadn’t heard from Van Bramer’s office about his contribution being refunded. He wasn’t bothered by the decision, though.

“That’s his choice. He wants to do it, he should do it,” Werwaiss said. “They ask for the money, now they say that don’t want it.”


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
348 Court Street (Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images)

Collapses raise questions about safety-law exemption

Collapses raise questions about safety-law exemption
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Schumer by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images; McConnell by Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty)

Schumer v. McConnell on SALT: Who’s gonna give?

Schumer v. McConnell on SALT: Who’s gonna give?
From left: Jared Kushner, 715 Park Avenue, Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing, and Rosemary Vrablic (Credits: Kushner by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images; 715 Park via Google Maps; Sewing by by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images; Vrablic by PAUL LAURIE/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Apartment sale to banker for Trump and Kushner probed

Apartment sale to banker for Trump and Kushner probed
Assemblyman Harvey Epstein and Senator Brad Hoylman (Epstein by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images; Hoylman by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Lawmakers introduce bill to keep rent regulation alive

Lawmakers introduce bill to keep rent regulation alive
China’s housing market is into bubble territory

There are fears of a great housing bubble in China

There are fears of a great housing bubble in China
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Getty, iStock)

What NYC’s phase 4 means for real estate

What NYC’s phase 4 means for real estate
Hong Kong

Foreign firms are vacating Hong Kong offices like never before

Foreign firms are vacating Hong Kong offices like never before
Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty, Wikimedia)

Landlords challenge city laws protecting non-paying businesses

Landlords challenge city laws protecting non-paying businesses
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...