The Real Deal National

These real estate execs are donating big this campaign season

Top donors include developers Geoffrey Palmer and Murray Goodman
By Sylvia Varnham O’Regan |
Research by Haru Coryne
July 15, 2019 02:56PM

From left: Jonathan Gray of Blackstone Group, Geoff Palmer of G. H. Palmer Associates, and Jeffrey Gural of Newmark Knight Frank and GFP Real Estate (Credit: Getty Images)

From left: Jonathan Gray of Blackstone Group, Geoff Palmer of G. H. Palmer Associates, and Jeffrey Gural of Newmark Knight Frank and GFP Real Estate (Credit: Getty Images)

As the campaign season heats up, a preliminary list of second-quarter Federal Election Commission contributions reveal a number of real estate executives and developers made donations of varying amounts.

The Real Deal gathered the data from the FEC’s website and ordered the donations by dollar amount, from highest to lowest. The data does not include state and local contributions, and only captures donations filed before Friday, July 5. The final deadline to file donations is July 15.

Topping our list, Los Angeles developer Geoffrey Palmer of G.H. Palmer Associates donated $106,500 to the Republican National Committee in April. It’s unclear if it was a new donation, however, because the filing indicates it was transferred from Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee between the Trump campaign and the RNC.

Palmer is one of President Trump’s biggest donors and previously gave millions to Rebuilding America Now, a political action group founded to support Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Palmer’s company, accusing it of illegally keeping thousands of security deposits from tenants. TRD reported that more than two dozen tenants had previously sued Palmer for unwarranted charges. Palmer could not be reached for comment.

The second-highest donor was South Florida-based commercial real estate developer Murray Goodman, who donated $58,900 to the RNC. In 2013, Goodman’s daughter, real estate broker Marley Goodman Overman, married husband Brett Overman at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club.

In addition to Los Angeles and South Florida real estate heavyweights, the list also shows a number of donations out of New York.

Among them, Blackstone Group president and COO Jonathan Gray donated $35,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. In 2016, The Real Deal reported that Gray, the former head of real estate at Blackstone, met with Trump to discuss joining his administration as treasury secretary, despite supporting Hillary Clinton’s campaign. He later withdrew himself from consideration, telling CNBC: “It was an honor to be considered for Treasury secretary but I still have much work to do at Blackstone.”

Blackstone declined to comment on Gray’s latest donation. Gray has previously donated to Democratic Reps. Seth Moulton and Jared Polis (who is now Colorado’s governor); as well as Sens. Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Chuck Schumer and Ron Wyden.

Also in New York, Newmark Knight Frank and GFP Real Estate’s Jeffrey Gural donated $35,500 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, FEC filings show. Dennis Herman, chairman of the Beekman International Center, donated the same amount to the RNC.

In Chicago, real estate investor Harry Langer made six donations of $2,800 each to the Club for Growth, a fiscally conservative political action group.