New York City

(Just like Quinn) Billionaires back Margaret Chin for City Council

by Sean Sweeney

Voter beware! In a move that surprised few, a consortium of real-estate developers, landlords, investment firms and bankers have endorsed Margaret Chin for City Council (Chin currently represents District 1 in Lower Manhattan), pledging a share of its $10 million war chest to elect the embattled councilmember.

The Real Estate Board of New York, a.k.a. REBNY, a pro-real estate, pro-development, lobbying association of the city’s biggest real-estate developers, is spearheading a political action committee, or PAC, cynically
named "Jobs For New York," deceptively claiming it is seeking affordable housing and jobs for the middle class. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Although candidates for the City Council can generally spend only $168,000 on their campaigns under strict Campaign Finance Board regulations, recent rulings now permit private-expenditure groups to spend basically
an unlimited amount of money to influence an election’s outcome.

The bulk of the $10 million that this new PAC is promising will go toward direct mail, TV and radio advertising. The group plans to spend $2 million on voter identification and field-targeting in 25 City Council
races. The PAC also suggested that it would run negative campaign ads against Chin’s opponent, civil-rights attorney Jenifer Rajkumar.

Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause, a government watchdog group, indicated that the multimillion-dollar effort is a significant shift in city politics that might alter the nature of campaigning on
the local level.

Quinn 'kin' denies campaign cash wrongdoing

by Gerard Flynn
July 16, 2013

Queens City Councilman James van Bramer finally went public last week about $8,000 in campaign contributions he has received from family members of 5Pointz developer Gerald Wolkoff.

Campaign finance records show that van Bramer, who represents Council District 26 in western Queens, received $2,750 each from the developer's sons David and Adam Wolkoff, the maximum amount allowed under campaign finance rules for a candidate for City Council. A spouse of the former, Stephanie Wolkoff, who runs the Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, donated the final $2,500, early this year.

Wolkoff Sr. plans to raze the 5-story, 200,000 square foot mural-covered warehouse on Davis St. in Long Island City.

Since the mid-1990s, Wolkoff had been allowing aerosol artists from the neighborhood and around the world to use the famed site as their spray canvas. In 2009, a serious accident forced him to shutter its interior from artist use, but the exterior walls remain a globally known graffiti landmark – and significant tourist attraction for Queens.

Wolkoff intends to replace the building with two residential towers. Zoning rules allow for a bulky development, as-of-right, which would add more than 600 residential units to the immediate area. Long Island City's real estate market has been flourishing with upscale condos and rentals since the area was rezoned by City Hall in 2004.

Subscribe to RSS - New York City