Real estate titans write checks for Eric Adams’ campaign, legal defense 

Some donations being reviewed for “pay to play”

Real Estate Funds Eric Adams’ Campaign, Legal Defense
Charney Companies’ Sam Charney, Mayor Eric Adams and Durst Organization's David Neil (Charney Companies, Durt Org, Getty)

New York’s real estate industry is lining up behind embattled Mayor Eric Adams, both for his re-election and his legal headaches.

From July 14 to Jan. 12, the Adams campaign raised $399,000, the New York Daily News reported, including at least $51,720 from people with real estate interests. 

Roughly four dozen industry figures contributed to Adams’ bid for re-election in 2025, according to a campaign finance report released Tuesday.

Adams has raised roughly $3 million for his re-election. It’s not clear if he will have a Democratic primary opponent, but former city comptroller Scott Stringer has formed an exploratory committee.

Real estate, along with the legal field, was one of the largest contributors to Adams’ campaign. Among those to donate were Charney Companies’ Sam Charney and Durst Organization principal David Neil, who each contributed $2,100, the maximum allowed.

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They followed in the footsteps of real estate figures who previously contributed the maximum amount to Adams’ campaign, including SL Green Realty chair Marc Holliday and founder Stephen Green. Others to contribute during the previous six-month period include Durst principals Helena and Alexander Durst ($2,100 each), TF Cornerstone co-founder Fred Elghanayan ($2,000) and “good cause eviction” lobbyist opponent George Fontas ($400).

Separately, a trust for Adams’ legal defense is also receiving plenty of support, including from real estate. Since Adams created the trust in response to a federal investigation into his previous campaign, the mayor has raised more than $732,000, with former mayor Michael Bloomberg and the family of former Adams chief of staff Frank Carone among his supporters, according to Hell Gate.

The spouses of Midtown Equities’ Joseph and Jack Cayre also donated $5,000 each to the legal defense, the maximum contribution allowed to the trust. Those donations may prove to be problematic, however, as the trust isn’t allowed to accept contributions from those doing business with the city. Both Cayres appear in the city’s Doing Business Database.

The attorney overseeing the trust is reviewing the matter.

Previous donations made by the Cayres were flagged by Adams’ campaign team ahead of the 2021 race. Jack Cayre had campaign donations returned to him for both the 2021 and 2025 mayoral race after giving more than the $400 maximum allowed for those doing business with the city.

The Cayres, who have also donated to independent expenditures supporting or opposing City Council candidates, did not respond to Hell Gate’s request for comment.

Holden Walter-Warner

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