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City’s Real Estate Biggies Are Betting Big on Cuomo

New York State

Money for Cuomo

New York City's real estate interests are pushing the favorite in this year's one-horse governor's race.

Oct. 11, 2018

The current campaign for governor of New York is looking like a one-horse race. So New York City’s real estate interests – no dummies – are shunning the longshot and going with the odds-on favorite, pouring their money into the bulging coffers of incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo.

 The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) gave the governor's re-election bid $15,000 from its political action committee in the most recent filing period, its first donation to the incumbent this year, Crain’s reports. The contribution made the industry group Cuomo's largest donor from the five boroughs in the period between Sept. 25 and Oct. 5, a span in which the Democrat amassed almost $296,000 and brought his war chest's balance to roughly $9.2 million. By comparison, the GOP’s dark-horse contender, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, has a little more than $200,000 on hand. How do you spell m-i-s-m-a-t-c-h? 

REBNY is far from the only property interest that is betting on a third Cuomo term. Saber Real Estate Advisors, Prestige Properties, and title-insurance giant Royal Abstract used limited liability companies to donate a collective $15,000 to Cuomo. In the past year, the title insurance industry lobbied heavily to kill proposed reforms to its common practice of lavishly entertaining potential clients. The governor has often decried state campaign finance laws that enable LLCs to donate as individuals rather than as corporate entities, but he has made scarce efforts to close it. 

The governor has a mixed relationship with REBNY and the city’s real estate community as a whole. Although he has received plentiful contributions from key players in the industry, in his most recent term he sided with building trades unions and blocked the renewal of the 421-a tax abatement until it included new pro-labor carve-outs.

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