Lhota is No. 1 for real estate campaign cash in last two months

Mayoral rivals Quinn, Weiner, de Blasio trump ex-MTA chief in total industry donations

From left: Barry Gosin, Joe Lhota and Anthony Weiner
From left: Barry Gosin, Joe Lhota and Anthony Weiner

Joseph Lhota may be a relative newcomer to the New York City mayoral race, but in the last two months he has captured the lion’s share of real estate contributions, beating out rivals Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio and others for industry donations, a review of the latest city campaign finance records show.

In the most recent filing period, Lhota captured $47,475 from more than 100 donors from the real estate industry, including Barry Gosin, CEO of commercial brokerage Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, and Alex Goldstein of residential owner Samson Management, who each gave the maximum $4,950 to his campaign.

By contrast, City Council Speaker Quinn — who has raised more funds than any other candidate — drummed up just under $20,000 and Public Advocate de Blasio raised a mere $12,730 from real estate donors in the same period.

The period covers March 12 through May 11, and the filing deadline was May 15. The Real Deal looked at contributions from individuals who identified themselves as members of the real estate industry, as well as those who work at development, title insurance, architecture, construction or brokerage firms but did not specify their line of work in filings, as well the immediate families of well-known industry players.

A Republican, Lhota resigned as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in preparation for launching his bid in January.

Despite his recent ability to open real estate’s purse strings, he trails far behind other mayoral hopefuls when it comes to overall dollars raised. Lhota has taken in about $97,000 from real estate-related firms since he began accepting contributions this year, about 7 percent of his total of $1.3 million.

Along with Newmark’s Gosin, top contributors to the Lhota campaign include Robert Billingsley, a vice chairman at Cassidy Turley, and Adam Rose, co-president of Rose Associates.

Meanwhile, Quinn, a Democrat, has reaped $1.2 million through more than 1,000 individual contributions from the real estate industry since 2007. Real estate represents about 17 percent of the $7 million she has raised.

Last month, Anthony Malkin, who is part of a family that controls the Empire State Building and is president of W&M Properties, wrote a $4,600 check to Quinn, the records show.

Bill Thompson, a Democrat and former City Comptroller, has also pulled in donations from major industry players. Overall, he raked in just over $395,000 in real estate-related contributions, or 12 percent of his $3.3 million haul, since he started collecting donations in 2011.

Earlier this month, Eastdil Secured Chairman Benjamin Lambert and Jonathan Tisch, chairman of the Loews Corp., each gave his campaign the maximum contribution of $4,950.

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Haim, Stanley and Isaac Chera each gave $3,750 to Thompson this month. Between those contributions and an earlier donation, their firm, Crown Acquisitions, has donated a total of $12,250.

Glenwood Management, led by president Leonard Litwin, gave a combined $14,850 to Thompson, all in 2012. One year earlier, three individuals from H.J. Kalikow & Co., led by Peter Kalikow, gave a combined $14,850.

Eight executives from SL Green Realty gave Thompson a total of $6,400 since the campaign’s inception, through eight contributions of $800 each, in March 2013.

Former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is expected to formally enter the race next week, pulled in more than $1 million from real estate professionals and related industries between 2007 and 2009, including $21,000 from executives at Vornado Realty Trust, for a total of $4.8 million, or 25 percent of his donations.

Weiner also snagged maximum $4,950 contributions from the wives of top developers, including Ben Ashkenazy’s wife Debra, Haim Binstock’s wife Gallya and Hal Fetner’s wife and three children. Weiner has not received any additional contributions since then.

City Comptroller John Liu has received about $185,000 from real estate-related individuals since he started taking donations in late 2010, only about 5.5 percent of his total of $3.3 million.

Liu received major donations from construction companies, such as $4,500 from an executive at J.T. Hwang Enterprises in Flushing, and $8,300 from two professionals at Goode Realty in Bushwick. Liu also accepted significant donations from employees of hotels in the city.

Sam Chang, CEO of McSam Hotel Group, and seven other employees at the firm, each gave Liu $800 for a total of $6,400 in 2011.

De Blasio has raised nearly $250,000 in real estate-related contributions. Arthur Zeckendorf, co-chairman of Terra Holdings, gave a maximum gift in February. Other top contributors were Victor Elmaleh, of World-Wide Holdings.

De Blasio’s large real estate contributions nearly halted in the most recent filing period, although Neil Goldmacher, a vice chairman at Newmark, donated $2,500 in April, the campaign board’s website shows. De Blasio’s total real estate contributions come to only about 6 percent of his entire campaign income of $3.9 million.