Extell upped Cuomo donations during tax bill talks

State law granting One57 an abatement could shave $35M in costs

From left: Gary Barnett, a rendering of One57 and Gov. Andrew Cuomo
From left: Gary Barnett, a rendering of One57 and Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Entities affiliated with Gary Barnett’s Extell Development made more than $300,000 in donations to Governor Andrew Cuomo since May 2012, when Cuomo was weighing a 421-A tax abatement housing bill that would effectively save Extell $35 million over a decade at One57, the New York Daily News reported.

The influx of cash came after several years without donations, the newspaper said. Between 2006 and 2008, Barnett’s wife Ayala Barnett made 11 donations totaling just under $150,000, according to an analysis of campaign finance records by the newspaper.

An Extell spokesperson told the newspaper that the donations were on account of Cuomo having been a “terrific governor” and insisted that there has “never been any quid pro quo with our political donations.”

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This year, four Extell-affiliated entities gave Cuomo a combined $200,000. Two of these donations were made right before the governor signed the bill into law in late January, as the Daily News reported last week.

Cuomo aides declined to comment to the newspaper, but had previously said that the bill had the support of the city and that donations do not play a part in the governor’s decisions.

Extell and other luxury developers such as Larry Silverstein and Joseph Sitt that benefited from the legislation have been hit with subpeonas by a special commission created by Cuomo to investigate public corruption. He tasked the panel with looking into improper connections between donations and legislation. [NYDN]Hiten Samtani