Rent law “canary in the coal mine” runs for Congress in Connecticut

Newcastle Realty CEO promised to divest of New York City holdings in a letter to Andrew Cuomo last year

Feb.February 28, 2020 07:00 AM
Margaret Streicker (Credit: Streicker 2020)

Margaret Streicker (Credit: Streicker 2020)

A real estate CEO who last year penned a letter to Cuomo to complain about the new rent law — after her firm had to pay a settlement for violating the old rent law — is now running for Congress.

Margaret Streicker Porres is now running as a Republican in Connecticut’s third congressional district, where Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro has held the seat since 1991. Streicker — whose campaign website omits Porres from her name — led the New York City-based firm Newcastle Realty, which specialized in the conversion of older multifamily properties to condos.

In 2015, Newcastle agreed to pay $1.2 million in a settlement with the New York attorney general’s office after being accused of carrying out illegal buyouts during a condo conversion on the Upper West Side. Newcastle did not admit guilt.

When the landmark tenant-friendly rent law passed last year, Streicker penned a letter to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to criticize it. As a result of the new law, Streicker said she would leave the city, and urged Cuomo to consider her a “canary in the coal mine.”

“As a direct result of these newly passed reforms, I, in my professional capacity as the owner of a mid-sized business, have opted to divest myself of all New York City property and construction management,” Streicker wrote in the July letter.

According to her Jan. 11 campaign launch announcement, Streicker closed her firm in December 2019 and the following month founded Fortitude Capital, which purportedly represents properties all over the U.S.

But despite Streicker’s pledge to leave New York City, a spokesperson for Fortitude said it is operating in New York City out of Newcastle’s former offices. The spokesperson declined to provide any other details about the firm.

Newcastle Realty had $500 million assets under management according to her biography on Columbia University’s website, which indicates she is an adjunct assistant professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Streicker’s campaign website says she also has a firm named Newcastle Connecticut.

A spokesperson for the campaign did not make Streicker available for comment.

The district she is campaigning in runs along the Long Island Sound and includes parts of Fairfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties. History suggests the Republican candidate will be a heavy underdog in the November election. DeLauro, the 76-year-old incumbent, defeated her Republican opponent in 2018 by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the district by 15.5 percentage points.

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