Letitia James backed BAM hotel after developer donations

Macro Sea and 21C Museum Hotels gave $3K in campaign contributions

From left: Macro Sea's David Belt and Public Advocate Letitia James
From left: Macro Sea's David Belt and Public Advocate Letitia James

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James raked in thousands of dollars in campaign contributions last year from a pair of real estate developers looking to build a hotel on city land in Brooklyn, then recommended the project to city officials, according to a letter obtained by DNAinfo.

James, who received a total of $3,000 from Brooklyn-based developers Macro Sea and 21C Museum Hotels, then wrote a glowing letter about their project to city officials weighing the proposal, according to records cited by DNAinfo.

The developers were competing against others for the right to build and operate a boutique hotel with a 24-hour contemporary art museum on the site known as BAM North II. But despite James’ complimentary letter, which was sent to then-HPD commissioner Mathew Wambua, then-deputy mayor for economic development Robert Steel and former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the developers ultimately lost out to Jonathan Rose Companies’ mixed-use development plan.

According to campaign finance records cited by DNAinfo, Macro head David Belt also gave $4,950 to then-City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign in 2011, and in July 2013 contributed $2,475 to her. He also raised over $48,000 in contributions for her as an intermediary.

Belt also donated $4,950 to Bill de Blasio after he won the mayoral primary in September 2013, and raised nearly $20,000 for him as an intermediary, DNAinfo reported.

Belt and 21C did not respond to DNAinfo’s requests for comment, while a spokesperson for James told the news site that she as proven herself as an affordable housing advocate.

“She has a longstanding record of taking on powerful developers based on her principled support for only fair and responsible development,” the spokesperson said. [DNAinfo]Julie Strickland