Former PropertyShark CEO launches bid for Congress with falsehood

Bill Staniford incorrectly claims he founded the real estate data firm

Former PropertyShark executive Bill Staniford (Staniford, Facebook, PropertyShark)
Former PropertyShark executive Bill Staniford (Staniford, Facebook, PropertyShark)

Former PropertyShark executive Bill Staniford is used to swimming in choppy waters. Now, he’s jumping into the riptide of electoral politics.

The Republican announced his campaign to represent a Long Island district with a fundraising email claiming he created PropertyShark.

“I founded and ran a company called PropertyShark.com which effectively revolutionized the real estate industry of NYC,” he boasted.

But the firm’s website says real estate investor Matthew Haines founded PropertyShark in 2003. Staniford joined as vice president of sales in 2006 and became CEO two years later.

A spokesperson for the campaign blamed “an unfortunate typo not reflected in Bill’s (video) announcement or website,” and added, “All apologies to Mr. Haines, the founder of PropertyShark.”

It will take more than an exaggerated resume for a Republican to win the Fourth Congressional District, even in a year when the GOP is expected to flip many House seats. The district, in central and southern Nassau County, is heavily Democratic and has been represented by Democrat Kathleen Rice since 2015.

Rice beat her last Republican challenger by 13 points in 2020. While prognosticators haven’t weighed in yet on the 2022 race, Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia and the Cook Political Report both rated it “solid Democratic,” the bluest rating they offer, in 2020. The district is being redrawn this year but is not changing dramatically.

Though he has not held political office, Staniford considered running for mayor of New York City against Bill de Blasio in 2017. He dropped the bid before it began in earnest, claiming his then-employer Urbint might have had business before the city. Staniford also works with the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

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He exited PropertyShark in 2010 as the firm was sold to Yardi. On his campaign website, Staniford mentions serving as CEO but does not claim to have founded the company.

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Around the same time Staniford left PropertyShark, he said in an interview with Details magazine that he had a relationship with the Russian spy, model and Donald Trump fan Anna Chapman. He told the magazine he loved Chapman, and that he thought she loved him back.

“She might have been faking with the others but it was real with me,” Staniford said, according to a CBS News writeup of the story. The magazine later folded.

Staniford dropped out of high school, joined the Marines and went on to earn degrees from the University of Texas and the University of Colorado. In recent years, he has led the rental finance platform Qira.

Now that he is running for office, his role has changed. “Bill is no longer Qira’s CEO, but working for the company in an advisory capacity only,” said Chris Santarelli, a spokesman for the firm.

The “issues” page https://staniford.com/issues/ on Staniford’s campaign website is empty, but much of his campaign announcement video centers on reining in inflation, which most economists would consider well beyond the power of a House member to do. Unless inflation recedes by November, however, it is likely to figure prominently in congressional races.