Real estate throws tons of cash at the Cuomo campaign, again

Nearly a quarter of the governor's $6M fundraising haul came from the NYC property industry

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Pat Arnow)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Pat Arnow)

UPDATED Jan. 17, 9:13 a.m.: Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised $6 million for his 2018 election campaign in the last six months, and at least $1.24 million of that came from New York City area real estate interests, a review of state elections records shows.

The largest Cuomo donor in the real estate club was Toronto-based Brookfield Property Partners, which earlier this month wired three donations from LLCs totaling $150,000. Two of the LLCs, which contained the word “Amtrak,” appear connected to its holdings at the Manhattan West development project, which was built over underground train tunnels. In 2014, Brookfield scored $225 million in partially tax-exempt bond financing from the New York State Housing Finance Agency for the 844-unit Manhattan West rental tower called the Eugene. The luxury rental building contains 169 affordable units. In 2017, the company won a share of $360 million in renewable energy project awards from the state.

Other major donors were longtime Cuomo supporters, such as Scott Rechler, whose RXR Realty chipped in $90,000. Rechler’s wife, Deborah, also gave $5,000. Westchester developer and Trump acolyte Louis Cappelli donated $70,000. Developer Joseph Moinian and his wife Nazee together gave $50,000, as did Extell Development’s Gary Barnett and his wife Ayala.

Barry Diller and Douglas Durst, who fought a proxy war over Diller’s $250 million fantasy island at Pier 55 before Cuomo interceded, gave $30,000 and $25,000, respectively.

A number of prominent members of the Real Estate Board of New York gave $25,000, including Larry Silverstein and Daniel Brodsky. Bruce Mosler and Tyler Morse gave $10,000. Members of the Rudin, Resnick and Tishman families were also major donors, as usual. (REBNY’s political action committee separately gave $50,000.)

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Triangle Equities, the developer of Lighthouse Point on Staten Island, a project that once had its $16.5 million state subsidy delayed by the legislature, gave $50,000.

State Street Title Agency also made the $50,000 club, as the title insurance industry could face sweeping new regulations that would change the way they collect fees and treat clients to nights on the town.

The $1.3 million Cuomo’s campaign raised from city real estate interests was more than twice as much as the nearly $600,000 it received from the industry in the first half of 2017. The campaign currently has $31 million to spend on this year’s election, state elections records show. Republicans have all but conceded the 2018 gubernatorial race after businessman Harry Wilson dropped out earlier this month.

Though a third term would run until January of 2023, Cuomo is widely rumored to be considering a run for president in 2020.

This story was updated to correct the precise donation amount of some donors.