These are the biggest RE donors to House of Representatives candidates in SoFla

Donna Shalala, Carlos Curbelo and Debbie Wasserman Schultz among those running

Oct.October 30, 2018 04:35 PM

From left to right, clockwise: Donna Shalala, Carlos Curbelo, Joe Kaufman, Maria Elvira Salazar, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell

As South Florida voters head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6, they’ll be met with an array of candidates from both sides of the aisle with platforms impacting a variety of real estate issues.

Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, who include Donna Shalala, Carlos Curbelo and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, scored donations from big names in real estate, like Warren Buffett, developers Armando Codina and Stuart Miller, and hedge fund titan Daniel Loeb, federal data shows.

Most of those candidates have lightly touched on issues affecting the industry like climate change and affordable housing. But some, like Curbelo, have backed proposed legislation that could benefit luxury condo developers – of which there are plenty in South Florida.

The Real Deal dug into those databases to learn who South Florida’s most prominent figures in real estate are supporting, considering only contributions of $1,000 or more as of mid-October from figures known in the local industry.

TRD’s list of donors and donations is not comprehensive and includes donations to political action committees and political party committees, which explains why some totals exceed the limits that individuals can contribute. Individuals are maxed out at $2,700 per election to a federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee. But they can also give up to $5,000 to a political action committee. In Florida, individuals are capped at $3,000 to a candidate for statewide office, according to the Division of Elections.

U.S. House of Representatives District 23

Debbie Wasserman Schultz


Lives in: Weston

Net worth: $107,000 as of 2015

Campaign war chest: $1.9 million

Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

— Alan Lieberman, owner of South Beach Hotel Group, $10,400

— Sheryl Tishman, wife of Daniel Tishman, $5,400

— Alan Ginsburg of the CED Companies, $5,400

— Paul Kukuruza, managing director of Paloma Partners, $5,400

— Charles Abele, chairman and CEO of Gold Coast Florida Regional Center, $5,000

— Chris Korge, partner at the Americas Group, $2,700

— Daniel Tishman, principal and vice chairman of Tishman, $2,700

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Wasserman Schultz, a moderate Democrat in Congress, voted against the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that exempts some banks from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. She also voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017.

U.S. House of Representatives District 23

Joe Kaufman


Lives in: Tamarac

Net worth: Not available

Campaign war chest: Kaufman has about $250,800 in cash on hand, plus debts of $89,900, primarily from his unsuccessful 2012, 2014 and 2016 campaigns for Congress.

Biggest Donors in Real Estate: No real estate donors

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Kaufman’s platform includes his endorsement of downsizing or eliminating the IRS and lowering the corporate tax rate significantly. He supports using federal funding to create new bays and living shorelines and to bolster sea walls.

U.S. House of Representatives District 26

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell


Lives in: Pinecrest

Net worth: Nearly $661,000 as of 2016

Campaign war chest: $3 million

Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

— Mary Wilkie-Ebrahimi, First Solar shareholder, $5,400

— Farhad Ebrahimi, First Solar shareholder, $5,400

— Donald Sussman, founder at Paloma Partners, $2,700

— Kammy Moalemzadeh, founder and managing partner of Arcadia Investment Partners, $2,700

— Joshua Easterly, CEO of TPG Specialty Lending, $2,700

— Nicholas Pritzker, co-founder and principal of Tao Capital Management, $2,700

— Isaac Pritzker, director of venture equities at Tao Capital Management, $2,700

— James Attwood Jr., managing director of the Carlyle Group, $2,700

— Jeffrey Sussman, president of Property Group Partners, $2,700

— Louis Wolfson III, founding partner of Pinnacle Housing Group, $2,000

— Jill Soffer, interior designer, $2,000

— Lyle Stern, president of Koniver Stern Group, $1,000

— Michael Adler, chairman and CEO of Adler Group, $1,000

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Mucarsel-Powell’s campaign touches on combating sea level rise through investing in infrastructure.

U.S. House of Representatives District 26

Carlos Curbelo


Lives in: Miami

Net worth: $1.5 million as of 2015

Campaign war chest: $4 million

Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

— Armando Codina, executive chairman of Codina Partners, $10,400

— Real Estate Roundtable Political Action Committee, $8,500

— Jose Mas, CEO of MasTec, $8,100

— Jorge Mas Canosa, chairman of MasTec, $8,100

— Matthew Rieger, president and CEO, Housing Trust Group, $5,400

— Daniel Loeb, founder and CEO of Third Point Management, $5,400

— Florida East Coast Industries LLC/Good Government Committee, $5,000

— Jose Ferreira de Melo, president of the Melo Group, $2,700

— Martin Ferreira de Melo, principal at the Melo Group, $2,700

— Pedro Munilla, principal at MCM, $2,700

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Curbelo calls himself a “positive voice on the issues of climate change … even when I have to break from my party to do so,” according to his website. He supports protecting the Everglades and water quality, especially in the Florida Keys. Curbelo has also advocated for alleviating the affordable housing crisis in the Keys.

In 2017, Curbelo introduced the “Fair Accounting in Condominium Construction Act,” which would grant luxury condominium developers the same tax benefits homebuilders already receive, saving them millions during construction.

U.S. House of Representatives District 27

Donna Shalala


Lives in: Coral Gables

Net worth: Between $4.6 million and $13.5 million

Campaign war chest: $2.8 million

Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

— Jeffrey Krasnoff, founder and CEO of Rialto Capital Management, $5,400

— Jackie Soffer, co-CEO of Turnberry Associates, $5,400

— Louise Sunshine, real estate consultant, $5,400

— Carol Soffer, art consultant at Turnberry Associates, $5,400

— Rita Soffer, $5,400

— Marsha Soffer, manager at Turnberry Associates, $5,400

— Brooke Soffer, Realtor, $5,400

— Craig Robins, president and CEO of Dacra, $5,400

— Ed Easton, chairman and CEO of the Easton Group, $5,400

— Stuart Miller, executive chairman of Lennar Corporation, $5,400

— Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, $2,700

— Louis Wolfson III, founding partner of Pinnacle Housing Group, $5,400

— Arnaud Karsenti, managing principal at 13th Floor Investments, $2,700

— Jill Soffer, interior designer, $2,700

— Todd Glaser, developer, $2,700

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: The former University of Miami president has ties to housing. She was assistant secretary for policy development and research at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and before that was on the board of Lennar Corp. On the environment, her platform includes investing in clean energy infrastructure, encouraging the installation of solar panels in homes and tightening efficiency standards.

Maria Elvira Salazar


Lives in: Coral Gables

Net worth: Not available

Campaign war chest: $1.5 million

Biggest Donors in Real Estate:

— Philip Pilevsky, CEO at Philips International, $5,400

— Pedro Martin, chairman and CEO at Terra, $5,400

— Mori Hosseini, chairman and CEO at ICI Homes, $5,400

— Brigitte Nachtigall, Key Biscayne real estate agent, $2,500

Real Estate Issues on the Campaign Trail: Salazar supports creating affordable housing for veterans.

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