L+M to pay $25,000 penalty for unreported lobbying

Developer settles with ethics agency over political activity

Ron Moelis of L + M Development Partners (Credit: iStock)
Ron Moelis of L + M Development Partners (Credit: iStock)

Ron Moelis’ L+M Development Partners has settled with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics for unreported lobbying last year.

L+M agreed to pay $25,000 to the regulatory agency as punishment for initially failing to disclose meetings with elected officials to influence government decisions on real estate and land use matters.

According to JCOPE, as the ethics agency is known, L+M sought to procure amendments to zoning laws and tax credits as well as government actions on other land-use matters. L+M will file retroactive disclosure reports for 2018 as part of the settlement.

“After learning of JCOPE’s new lobbying regulations, we voluntarily approached and worked with the commission to reach a settlement and establish protocols for future reporting,” a spokesperson for L+M said.

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The settlement comes three months after the Greenpoint Landing development team — George Klein’s Park Tower Group and Brookfield Property Partners — was among a trio of real estate developers fined for making donations benefiting Mayor Bill de Blasio while pursuing business with the city. L+M had left the Greenpoint Landing partnership before the fine was levied.

L+M has been in the spotlight for engaging with public officials before. In 2017, Crain’s reported on Moelis’ close relationship with then-Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, and that L+M asked her to request the state lift a deed restriction for Greenpoint Landing. The restriction was waived, although Glen’s office denied involvement and the company was not accused of any wrongdoing.

The story, citing email correspondences obtained through the Freedom of Information Law, noted that Glen regularly connected Moelis to top city officials to discuss details of redevelopment proposals. That prompted nonprofit housing developers to complain that they did not enjoy the level of access to city officials as for-profit developers, including L+M. According to a review of Glen’s schedule during her first two years in office, Glen regularly made time for real estate and finance groups but met with nonprofit housing representatives far less often.

L+M is one of the best-known affordable housing developers in the city. By the firm’s tally it has developed $7 billion of real estate. Together with BFC Partners, L+M got a 50 percent stake in six NYCHA complexes in 2014, and was part of another development team that in 2018 received a contract to renovate two more such complexes in the Bronx.