Public advocate candidate says she doesn’t accept real estate money – but she does

Records show Melissa Mark-Viverito has received thousands of dollars from real estate interests for her campaign

Melissa Mark-Viverito (Credit: Getty Images)
Melissa Mark-Viverito (Credit: Getty Images)

Former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, a candidate in the race for Public Advocate to replace Letitia James, was caught on tape telling a crowd that she doesn’t accept donations from real estate interests.

But records reviewed by Crain’s show she’s been given thousands of dollars by real estate developers, investors, operators and brokers for her current campaign.

Mark-Viverito made the comment at a meeting of the Association of Black Educators of New York on Jan. 20, 2019, according to reporting by Crain’s. She was criticizing Andrew Cuomo’s record of accepting money from developers.

“I don’t receive that money,” she told the meeting, “I don’t accept money from real estate.”

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Records show she does.

The candidate received $2,550 Robert Quinlan, owner of brokerage and management firm Walker Malloy & Co, and the same amount from Brian Steinwurtzel, CEO of commercial real estate company GFP, according to Crain’s.

She also got $2,500 from Amir Khan of A. Khan Realty, $2,000 from luxury developer Daniel Brodsky and $1,000 from real estate consultant Fernando Brinn.

And she also received smaller donations from Victor Jung, of real estate investment and development firm DelShah Capital and Toll Brothers president David Von Spreckelsen, Crain’s found.

Mark-Viverito is the second public advocate caught making false statements about real estate money. Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams told a meeting of the Democratic Socialists of America that he rejects real estate money, but his 2017 re-election campaign took donation from a political action committee affiliated with the Real Estate Board of New York. [Crain’s] – Decca Muldowney